The Crime Prevention Website


  Celebrating our best month for visitors ever!

Dear Friend in Crime Prevention

Thank you for taking this eighth Newsletter from  The Crime Prevention Website , which would have been out last month had its creation not been interrupted by my holiday and working on a whole load of new development for the website (well, actually that was Ben doing the development with me simply interfering).  Talking of holidays, if you’ve been on one yourself I do hope it was all that you were hoping for.  Best July and August weather for a long time, I’m sure you will agree (although I went to Northern Cyprus).

  The Crime Prevention Website – how are we doing?

Visitor numbers

As of 30 September 2013 we’d received 194,954 visitors who have viewed 388,284 pages.  September this year saw the biggest visitor numbers for single month since the website was launched back in April 2012.  There were 22,898 visits and 39,767 page views giving us an annual visitor rate of 279K and 484K page views.  The numbers of visitors are still creeping up and so we’re looking forward to reaching an annual ½ million page views before the year is out.

Some of this additional increase in visitor traffic has been as a result of a couple of new reciprocal links discussed below, but once again the website’s success is down to my many supporters, so thank you to you all!  

New Links to the Crime Prevention Website

The July, August and September holiday season did see some slowing down in the number of new reciprocal links to the site, but in spite of this I am pleased to report that another 20 organisations have joined us since I circulated Newsletter 7.  One of these links was particularly exciting for me as you’ll see below.

Referred visitors from other websites are particularly welcomed, because I know these visitors are really interested in the subject matter, spend twice as long on the site and read twice as many pages as other visitors finding us from search engines.

Some recent analysis of our website has revealed that worldwide there are 1,300 other websites that are linking to us.  The problem is that we only know of 141 of them!  If you are linking to us please get in touch and we’ll link back.

Here’s our new links and Partners

Neighbourhood Watch and Community Sites

In July we linked up with Lewes Town and Rural Neighbourhood Watch Association in East Sussex.  I have good memories of visiting the Crime Prevention Design Advisers at Lewes Police Station when I worked for ACPO and also being taken to one of their excellent country pubs for lunch.

This association actively seeks to promote neighbourhood watch to local people by attending public events and knocking on neighbours' doors and they help the police print and distribute the monthly neighbourhood watch newsletter.

A recent development has been to recruit neighbourhood watch members to establish a trained search team to assist Sussex Police when they are faced with a missing person. Details can be found by clicking on the "Search Team" tab on the top of their website pages.

All neighbourhood watches, including those mentioned below, are always looking for new volunteers and so if you live in the area and can spare a little time to help out do please consider contacting them.  You can volunteer in Lewes by contacting the committee members through the website.

This link is very important to us because it’s only the second neighbourhood watch connection we have in Sussex.

This has been a slightly odd time for NHW links since this period has seen us linking mainly to neighbourhood watch associations , rather than individual neighbourhood watches.  However, this is very welcomed news since these organisations help spread the word to all their watch schemes.  These are the associations we’ve recently linked up with:

Wycombe District Neighbourhood Watch Association ;

Chelmsford Group of Neighbourhood Watches

Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch Association  

Hampshire Neighbourhood Watch Association

We always offer to support Watch’s initiatives by promoting them on our news pages, so if you've got something coming up please let us know about it.

Police Services

Back in May I had the pleasure of addressing half of the Metropolitan Police Borough Chief Superintendents and their senior management teams at an all day crime prevention and problem solving conference.  This gave me the opportunity to show the audience some of the stuff on my website.  Thereafter I was approached by several of the delegates over coffee congratulating me on what I'd done, which was very nice. One of them turned out to be involved with the Met’s website.  I mentioned that I'd already approached the Met and was waiting for the link to go in place, but he said that he would get it done quicker and he was right!  After just a few emails back and forth we finally linked up on 25th June!

The Met police are my former employers and I have them to thank for my career in crime prevention, so you can imagine how excited I was when this news came in.  I said on my news blog that it was a bit like coming home and it is.  Consequently I receive a lot of referrals from the Met’s website and it’s great to know that my site has even more chance of being seen by the people of my adopted city.

Then, out of the blue in September, I started getting referrals from Hampshire Constabulary’s tidy new website.  I don't know who put the link in, but thank you very much! So, this now brings us up to nine reciprocally linking police services plus Blakenhall Neighbourhood police team in Walsall.  We’ve even found ourselves mentioned on the news of the site of a small community policing website in Lyttelton in South Africa, where they link to us on the subject of ' break-ins through walls and ceilings '!  There’s a couple more planning to link over the next few months, but I’ll keep these under wraps until the day arrives.

Incidentally, if you are working for the police service and are reading this perhaps you could approach your service's website team to see if they would link?  

Companies and Consultant sites

Periodically we’re approached by companies and consultants who want to add a link to our site and it is important to point out to you that these ‘company’ links are purely voluntary.  In other words they are not ‘paid for links’.  If a company wants to place an advert on our website they obviously have to pay for it.  However, when you click on the advert, say one of the banners that appear on our pages, these are what are called ‘nofollow’ links.  This means that Google ignore them for the purposes of Google ranking.  Google set very strict rules about paid for links and we stick to them rigidly.

The companies with whom we have new reciprocal links are: Professional Security Magazine , the leading magazine in the area of security; Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly British Airports Authority) who link from their intranet site to support their staff who work shifts and therefore often leave their homes unoccupied.

It’s been great to continue to forge links with companies and consultants operating outside the UK, since 18% of our visitors come from abroad.  These two are located in the US: Brent Sobol Crime Prevention Consultant  and  Life is Great Productions ;

Sixth Sense Training  This company is owned by Neil Henson, a recently retired police sergeant in the Metropolitan Police.  Neil specialises in problem solving training (which is excellent, by the way) and I know him well, because I worked closely with him on various crime prevention projects in Kings Cross and Holborn. Neil has contributed information about problem solving to this website and some new information is to be added soon.  Good luck to Neil in his new venture.

Crime Prevention Associates are consultants with expertise in policing; crime prevention; designing out crime; community safety; problem oriented policing; partnership development; academic research; training; problem solving analysis and project evaluation.  Headed up by Alan Edmunds, a former Metropolitan Police Officer, you can see his firm offers a wide variety of skills to suit most clients’ needs.  

Associations and Institutes

The Association of Security Consultants  The ASC’s full members are independent consultants, who have no allegiance to specific suppliers of goods or services. They either head their own companies, or else are senior representatives in consultancy practices. They are leading experts in their fields, and the members’ specialist skills means that they are able to handle a broad range of strategic issues. Collectively their expertise and experience covers every facet of corporate and government security and in all sectors of commerce and industry.  I am particularly delighted to be linked with such an important association.

Forums and News mentions

Safe-Growth – Inspire neighbourhood futures Written by Greg Saville from Canada, this is an interesting blog for those who are interested in designing out crime.  The blog page has links to his other sites and consulting company.  Those of you who work in the crime prevention world might have heard of Greg and may even had the pleasure of meeting him at one of the International CPTED Conferences.  He’s an interesting guy.

Other referring websites

Suzy Lamplugh Trust I expect that most of you will be familiar with this important charity who are quite rightly described as 'the pioneers of personal safety'.  They campaign, educate, and support people to help reduce the risk of violence and aggression for everyone. Having met the founder, the late Diana Lamplugh, on several occasions I am delighted to have made the link. 

Page ranking

Well, we’re still at No.1 on a Google search for the terms 'crime prevention' and 'crime prevention news' and for lots of other searches too.  It is a constant battle to keep this important position and the links do help. 

    Website Updates

I've continued to make amendments to the advice in the doors and windows section to account for the change in the enhanced security standards, added quite a few new links into the Library and I’ve added a new page for my friends at the Association of Security Consultants.  Ben has been tirelessly working on our upcoming Directory of Security Products and Services, which will be launching very soon.  We are intending to list products and services that meet recognised security standards, but we will also include products that fall outside the scope of standards, such as the one described below. 

We’re including a directory for several reasons.  First and foremost we’ve been getting a lot of enquiries from people wanting to advertise their products or services on our website and so the idea seems viable. Secondly, my police pension only stretches so far in terms of financing what we want to do with the website (getting it properly designed will be a start!), so some additional income will help us no end.  Thirdly, we think it would be really useful for our visitors to see a list of products and services that meet the standards that this website recommends, so it sort of makes sense.

So, if you run a company and make or supply products or offer services that are certified to published security standards and would like to advertise with us, do please get in touch via the website  and we’ll let you know what we can do.

We would also like to hear from people who've invented a new product with a crime prevention appeal, because for one thing I like to test them to see if they work! 

    The Home Security Survey – the results

As of 9  October 2013 the  Home Security Survey  application on this site had been used 1,998 times, which is tantalisingly close to our goal of 2,000 by November.  I have to thank the crime prevention people at Thames Valley Police for this sudden surge in use.  They promoted the survey at a crime prevention initiative recently, resulting in 85 surveys over one weekend!  Our average number of surveys has increased to 3.83 per day since launch; up from 3.53 reported in Newsletter 7.  The satisfaction rate remains very high at 98%.

The anonymous data I derive from the survey helps me a great deal when I’m writing news stories and articles for this newsletter and the correspondence work I do for Crime Reduction Partnership News , so if there’s an opportunity to promote this free service through your own newsletters and websites I would be very grateful.

The Top 10 Counties for taking the survey are:

Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, London, Cumbria, Surrey, Essex, Kent, Lancashire, West Midlands, with Glamorgan and Gloucestershire equal tenth.  West Midlands is the new region to enter the top ten, due to a link up with one of the Neighbourhood Policing Teams. 

Home Security Survey findings:

I’m holding back on reporting anything about the Home Security Survey until I have hit that magic figure of 2,000.  Two thousand surveys will provide me with very statistically significant results and I shall be listing some of these in the next issue, so please look out for Newsletter number 9, which will be out in December.

Crime in the news

Here follows my most read news items during this period. Please feel free to copy and paste our news items into your newsletters as you see fit, but do show the origin of the story, which may be someone or something other than the Crime Prevention Website.

Most read this period

New rules for the use of private CCTV cameras on the way
The London Metropolitan Police links to The Crime Prevention Website
Burglars climbing drainpipes? – see it for yourself!
Safer Students – New website for students attending university
Preventing theft from the handbag
“Can you help me? I need some change”
Children returning to school? Please don’t let them fall victims to thieves
Witness Confident launches revolutionary new app for reporting crime
Calling all students starting university this year!
Crimestoppers launches ‘Filthy Rich’ campaign
Thumbs up for a Sold Secure padlock, but there’s more to it than that!

We share all our news stories on  Twitter  and  our Facebook page.  If you’re into tweeting we would be very grateful for a few extra re-tweets – thanks very much!

 Crime prevention products

Light switch timer – a completely new approach

Ever thought that you might like to replace one of your wall light switches with a cleverer device that would turn on the light automatically, but were put off by the thought of having to do some wiring?  Be put off no more, because a clever chap, by the name of Naiem Dakri, who obviously has one of those problem solving and inventive imaginations, has come up with a terrific solution: A timer which fits onto a wall switch, which requires no wiring!

I’m currently testing this rather neat timer device that is designed to fit onto a standard square wall light switch; one, two or three gangs.  It’s been tested on no less than 17 different manufacturers’ switches and is estimated to fit around 70% of all the square switches in use in the UK today, including a few of mine!

In essence the device comes in two parts: The cradle, which slips behind the light switch and the timer, which pops neatly into the cradle.  The cradle is fitted by simply loosening the wall switch screws to allow a little gap for the cradle to slip into and then you retighten the screws.  In the event that your wall switches don’t make the right contact with the timer you’re supplied with an extra part which is slotted into the back of the cradle – which I’ve had to use on my switches.

On the back of the timer are three positions for the switching wheels. These little wheels are positioned in various slots to work with whatever gang switch you are installing it to; they simply click in and out and if you’re only using one of the two supplied, the second wheel is neatly stored on the back of the timer out of site.  When the timer operates, the little electric motor within it drives the wheels across the face of the switches and turns them on or off – clever!

The little unit is powered by two AA batteries, which are not supplied.

Once fitted you can operate the light by pressing the on or off button on the timer or you can simply remove the timer from its cradle and use the light switch in the normal manner.  In fact it’s so simple to install that I would probably remove the cradle as well, until I needed it (I already have lots of timers around the house).

The timer offers seven days of various on/off programmes, plenty enough for when you’re away on holiday, and it incorporates a thermometer, something that I shall bring to the attention of my wife this winter!

There are a couple of minor downsides to the product.  It protrudes from the wall by approximately 54mm (just over 2 inches), which may mean that you might not be able to use it on a wall switch that is located very close to an inward opening door.  This stopped me from fitting it to the spare bedroom light switch, because the door would have knocked into it.  At the moment, their first model won’t fit some of the ornate square light switches or oblong ones, but they have plans to include these with a later model (I suppose you have to walk before you can run).

However, I like this product, because it’s clever, it fills a gap in the market, you don’t need an electrician to fit it and no more leaving lights on before you go out!  It also looks pretty smart and will no doubt start off a few conversations around security lighting when your friends see it.

If you would like to purchase one then you’ll have to wait a short while.  The launch of this product will roughly coincide with the end of British Summer time on 27 October (also clever).  In the meantime though you can take a look at the device on their website at

I haven’t quite finished testing mine yet, but so far so good.  When I’m satisfied with the product I shall add a description of it onto my advice pages.

 And finally...

John McPartian’s amusing story last time about the old chap and the plank got me thinking about my own police career and while on holiday I began writing up a few of my memoirs, which I hope you find amusing.  My boys want me to write a book about them and maybe I will.

Anyway, here’s my first attempt which relates some true happenings in my days on the beat in Acton, West London.  Hope you like it.

Dogs, trousers and lead-lined umbrellas

One autumn morning, back in the eighties, I was walking on my beat along Goodhall Street NW10 (one rarely ran) heading for Mrs Biggs cafe for a well-earned cuppa tea and bacon sandwich when I spied out of the corner of my eye a front door opening just ahead of me.  Being a young Constable at the time I took note of this happening just in case I had to give evidence about it at some later court hearing.

Having duly noted the event I almost missed the little white dog with red velvet collar exiting the door clearly with intent to do me some harm.  As the little darling ran towards me I smiled to myself and went to mouth the greeting ‘Hello lad’.  Before my tongue could hit the back of my teeth to complete the word ‘lad’ the mongrel’s gnashers had implanted themselves into my ankle, just above the top of my size 11 steel reinforced boot (fat lot of good they were!)

Now it’s not the done thing for a uniformed policeman to squeal out in pain in public and nor is it ‘cool’ to swing one's leg back and forth in an attempt to loosen an animal’s grip.  But that was the scene.

On the fourth attempt at leg swinging, by which time I must have looked like someone from the Ministry of Silly Walks, I freed the dog’s grip.  At the top of my swing the dog’s teeth, some of my flesh and a few parts of my regulation trousers (pronounced ‘trarsiz’ in this part of the country) departed my company and took to the air with some gusto.

Little Fido, was about halfway across the street and still making height when Doris Philpot, his owner, came out from the same door.

Imagine what she must have thought.  There was me with my leg at 90 degrees above the horizontal and Fido apparently off to meet its maker some six feet above the tarmac.

Now Doris was not a small lady, in fact she cast a fair shadow on an autumn day, and although in her late 70s she was as fit as a butcher’s dog.  Before I was able to explain what had taken place and point to my now copiously bleeding ankle and damaged regulation trarsiz I had already taken at least four blows from her lead-lined umbrella (she used to take this with her when collecting her pension at the Post Office after her neighbour got robbed one day).

The pain in my ankle was now completely forgotten as the lumps and grazes began appearing on my head, face and hands and just at the moment that I thought I would have to blow air over the pea in my regulation whistle for assistance a neighbour on the opposite side of the street, who had seen the whole incident, came running out with a smile on her face.

Doris withdrew and on hearing her neighbour’s full account joined her in a bout of raucous laughter. Doris patted me on the back and forgave me for launching Fido into space and with that they both ambled down to the Post Office with the completely unharmed Fido following on behind, smiling at me (at least that’s what I thought he was doing).

I suppose I must have stood there with my mouth wide open looking rather clueless watching the laughing couple meandering up the street.

My interesting day was far from over as it was off to the Central Middlesex Hospital for me to have yet another anti-tetanus jab (fourth dog bite in my two year’s probationary period).  I remember the nurse telling me to drop my trarsiz for the injection, which I duly did, only to turn around to see another half a dozen giggling nurses having a good laugh at my buttocks, predicament and obvious embarrassment (police and nurses had an interesting relationship).

I never followed up the incident.  Doris was a charming elderly lady, whom I met on several occasions afterwards, and by all accounts and according to our old dog-bite register this was the first time her dog had ever done something like this.  Perhaps the dog was acting to defend her from a great big dark shadow wearing a strange hat.  Who knows, but I left it at that and as far as I know the dog never did anything like it again.

I never did get my bacon butty.

Names and addresses have been changed to protect the guilty.

Got any funny stories about policing or crime prevention?  I'd love to hear from you and don't forget we also have the Joke Store where they'll be stored and read for ever!

Till next time.........Keep 'em peeled!