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Celebrating 3 Blooming Years Giving Crime Prevention Advice!
Wednesday 8th April 2015
Dear Friend in Crime Prevention
Thank you for taking Newsletter Number 15 from the The Crime Prevention Website
Yes, I know, it’s been a while since I sent out a newsletter (Xmas), but it’s been for a couple of good reasons. This year, to keep my hand in and to force myself to keep up-to-date, I decided to sell my knowledge to others and become a security consultant (You can read about the services I offer here). This has meant more time spent travelling to and wandering around various parts of London (mainly London) and writing up security reports for people. Returning to ‘the tools’ has been great fun and very rewarding too, so I’m glad I’ve made the move.
Unfortunately this has meant that I’ve had to take my foot off the website’s accelerator, but don’t think for one moment that my foot is hovering over the brake pedal – far from it!
It’s simply a question of balancing one demand against the other and when I’m not doing one thing I’m doing the other!
The other, perhaps less important reason is that I’d already left the Newsletter so long that I thought I would publish the next one on our Three Year Anniversary – yes, three blinking years!
I am really pleased I let Ben (my eldest) talk me into launching this website. Had it not been for his intervention I would have probably written book number 3 (I’d been approached by a publisher to do something similar to Home Security – the complete handbook). The trouble with technical books for crime prevention is that they take an age to write and because they are deemed ‘grudge purchases’ you sell very few – it’s really not worth the effort, even though I have been very grateful for the nice reviews.
Running my own website puts me in complete control of the content and, unlike a book, means I can update it when it’s required. It’s also become an outlet for my continued interest in all things crime prevention and with police budgets being cut all the time I also know that it’s been well-received by my former police colleagues and those unsung people who run the vitally important neighbourhood watches and crime prevention panels.
So, three years later and the site is still going strong with ever increasing visitors and supporters. What more could I ask for!
The Crime Prevention Website – how are we doing?
As of 6 April 2015 (three years since launch) we’d received 766,742 visits from 663,100 people who have looked at 1,345,557 pages. March this year broke the previous monthly record seeing 40,666 visits, up 16.7% on the same month last year. I’ve listed selected months and years below so you can see the growth – a bit like newspaper circulation I suppose!
Visitor sessions since launch on selected months
- 2,410........April 2012
- 4,777........October 2012
- 13,211......March 2013
- 25,079......October 2013
- 34,859......March 2014
- 36,713......October 2014
- 40,666......March 2015
The continued existence of the site does ultimately rely on healthy visitor numbers, because they give me the confirmation I need to keep the site going and generate the income that helps me pay for its upkeep. So your help in promoting the site is vitally important for me.
Here’s how you can help:
- If you work for a police force or other organisation that is not linking to The Crime Prevention Website please could you approach the boss and/or the people in charge of your media and see if you can make this happen. We would obviously reciprocate and link back and we would be happy to publicise any crime prevention campaigns they might be running.
- Follow us on Twitter and re-tweet our tweets
- Like our Facebook page and please share some of our stories, which takes just a couple of clicks
- Encourage people to take our free and confidential Home Security Survey
- Send us some words of encouragement, which we can post up on our testimonials page
- Have a go at contributing to the advice content on the website by using the 'Feedback on this page' in the top-left of every page
- Include a link to The Crime Prevention Website on your emails and newsletters
- Come onto the new Forum and have your say about something
- Shout out something nice about the site from a roof-top or nearby hill
Thank you very much!
A quick check of Google still shows this site at No.1 for ‘crime prevention’ and ‘crime prevention news’ and on page one for lots of other searches people might make for home security advice. This obviously helps with visitor traffic, but I often wonder which came first, Google ranking or visitor numbers?
New Links to the Crime Prevention Website and Medals Awarded
I’ve reduced the format of this section as it was too long. So here’s a list of the medal winners and the new links acquired since I last wrote to you. Awarding medals is our way of saying thank you very much to our Partners and recognising the fact that our mission to spread the crime prevention message is reaching those parts that other websites and lagers cannot reach! Although the forums listed below and some of the companies are not strictly ‘Partners’ they nevertheless contribute to TCPW’s overall visitor numbers. There is just one recipient of a Star medal this time round and whilst I keep the number of referrals for medals a closely guarded secret I can assure you they are difficult to achieve!
If you can spare a few moments you might like to visit one or two of these sites. All of our linked sites can be found on our Partners page.
- High Garrett Community Association and Neighbourhood Watch – This is our fifteenth Star medal partner in the three years we’ve been operating; just 5 a year. There’s lots of activity on this site and is well worth a visit
- Money Saving Expert.com - Keep getting the odd mention in their forums, which is great for referrals
- ViPA - ViPA UK are a specialist designer, manufacturer and supplier of rapid deployment equipment for law enforcement, property and people protection. Fortunately they’re in our Directory!
- Christchurch Borough Home Watch Association - Another active Neighbourhood Watch site
- Wikipedia - Someone kindly mentioned my site under a section about Doors
- Bedfordshire Police - Linked to us end of last year and they’re slowly moving up the medals
- Hampshire Neighbourhood Watch Association - After a long period of relative inactivity it’s good to see referrals have again started to come in from this site
- DIYnot.com – a new link from this forum
- Window Security Solutions – a company who’s been linking to us for a while
- South Yorkshire Pensions Authority - This body is responsible for administering the Local Government Pension Scheme in South Yorkshire. Their site offers more than just pension advice to its members – a new link
- American Preppers - a new link from this forum
- UK Preppers - a new link from this forum
- Wayne County Sheriff's Office
- Yateley Neighbourhood Watch Association
- Lidget Compton
- Brent Sobol Crime Prevention Consultant
- ABS Home Security and Safety – a new link
- Vandgard - anti-climb fencing products
- Safe Cascadia
- Conservatory Online Prices a new link
OTHER NEW LINKS
- Tyneside Security - Company
- The Naturist Foundation - Orpington - Forum
- Domestic and Commercial Locksmiths - Company
- MIG Welding The DIY Guide - Forum
- Craven Electrical Services – Company
- Democratic Underground - Forum
- Elgin Locksmiths - Company
- Lewes.co.uk - Forum
- Redstone Property Services – Company
Linking to The Crime Prevention Website
Reciprocal links are really important for us and so if you work for the police or are a volunteer for a Neighbourhood Watch group that has its own site or you otherwise have some influence over a website that might benefit from linking with us do please get in touch. The benefits work both ways for both ‘page’ and ‘authoritative’ ranking and is easy to do – just go to our ‘link to us’ page
Members of the Security Products and Services Directory
Current Directory list
- Bradling Security Limited - Installers of alarms, access control systems and CCTV
- Selectaglaze Limited – Manufacturers and suppliers of enhanced security secondary glazing systems
- It Does Lighting Limited - Lighting design company
- CPR Call Blocker - Manufactures and supplies telephone call blocking devices and operates the Call Prevention Registry
- ViPA UK Ltd - Supplier of specialist CCTV systems to the police and local authorities
- Detect Deter Defend - Security Consultants and Supplier of Personal Security products and Services
- Griffin Research and Consultancy - Security Consultants, Crime Research and Training
- Sixth Sense Training - Problem Solving and Crime Prevention Training
- Jupiter 2000 - Security and Fire Safety Consultants
- UK Crime Reduction Service - Security Consultants
- Bunjee Products - Suppliers of Safety Bunjees to protect phones, wallets etc
- Strand DNA - Supplier of Door and Entry Point DNA Offender Marking and Security products
- Switched on Products - Supplier of Wire-free Timers for Wall Light Switches
- Jacksons Fencing - Manufacturer and Installer of Security Fencing and Access Solutions
- Hörmann (UK) Limited – Manufacturer of secure garage doors and entrance doors
- SLS Midlands Limited – Supplier of secure lock cylinders and personal alarms
- Commander Securities Ltd – Manufacturer and supplier of Fuel and Metal alarm protection
- LifeLock Ltd - Supplier of a portable lock that prevents unauthorised entry into a room you are occupying
- BON-TAG RFID chips used to identify and register valuable Bonsai trees and other high value shrubs and their pots
- Interlock Security Portsmouth based company which supplies and fits patented security locks and window security film to older uPVC doors and windows
This newsletter welcomes Interlock Security as a new member of our Directory. Interlock Security is a Portsmouth based company who specialise in upgrading security to older uPVC windows and doors. They have developed and patented additional security devices that fit alongside existing locking mechanisms fitted at manufacture.
They also offer security window filming to improve the integrity of the existing glazing (which is likely to be easily broken toughened glass) and, in the unlikely event of an attempted break-in, their frame repair service can rectify damage that may have been caused, without the costly need for replacements and less disruption to an already upsetting situation.
The Crime Prevention Website likes innovative products and ideas, which is why we support what Interlock are doing. We recognise that not everyone can afford to simply replace their doors and windows and so this well thought through alternative is very welcomed.
Joining our Directory
The process of getting onto our Directory couldn’t be simpler as the whole thing is dealt with online. We're very aware that we have a responsibility to our users so we only accept directory listings from reputable companies with products and services that meet relevant standards where these apply and that we approve of. Our most important aim is to make the directory useful to our visitors.
Because we’re still small we’ve kept the costs to a minimum, but just because we’re small doesn’t mean that we haven’t got a big punch! 9,000 + visits a week is a lot of visits!
If you’re interested in advertising with us do please contact us at this link or if you know someone who might be interested please forward them this link and we'll get in touch
Important changes to our website advertising.
Our regular readers will know that we sold our souls to Google AdSense about 4 months ago in order to secure sufficient advertising revenue to keep this website going. We get paid a penny or two each time someone clicks one of their banners or views it a certain number of times and I’m pleased to report that the revenue earned thus far is definitely enough to secure our future – phew!
This means that we no longer offer banner ads to our Directory members, although later design changes will enable a few horizontal banners here and there.
The banner ads displayed are chosen by Google's special algorithms to benefit visitors by showing them ads that are most relevant to them. Sometimes this is relevant to the content of the page they appear on and at other times they may be targeted more to the interests of the individual visitor. This is why you'll often see different adverts to me.
It's all clever stuff really, but the point I want to make is that Ben and I have no control over the adverts that appear and therefore do not know anything about the companies, their products or their services. Please bear this in mind when you are using the site.
The EXCELLENT companies that we most certainly do know about are in our Directory and should you be looking for a service or product to improve your security we would urge you to take a look there first.
Amendments and additions to the website's advice pages continue as normal and I've added several more links to documents and useful websites in the Library.
I’m really pleased to report that our section on Problem Solving has now been completed with Neil Henson's final four (edited) chapters from his book 'Who Shares Your Problem'.
The new chapters are:
We are very grateful to Neil for allowing us to serialise his book on this website and we're sure that those of you in the police and volunteers running Neighbourhood Watches who are dealing with crime problems will find his problem solving method extremely helpful.
If you would like to purchase the full unedited Kindle version of 'Who Shares Your Problem' from Amazon please follow the link below. It’s also available in paperback..
No police officer, PCSO, crime prevention practitioner or Neighbourhood Watcher should the leave home without a copy of Neil's book!
Commercial Premises and Security
After repeated requests from former police colleagues I have begun writing a whole new section on security for commercial premises. So far I’ve penned and published four chapters, but there will be a lot more to come over the next few months. Here’s my contribution so far:
- Commercial Premises and Security
- Boundary fences, walls and gates
- Yards and external appearance of the premises
- Vehicle parking
These chapters take a long time to prepare, so please be patient! I aim to complete the section by the end of June. Please let me know if I've missed something or have got something completely wrong! Use the feedback button at the top of the page.
At long last (I hear you say) I've added a new page giving a little help for buyers of used cars.
The Home Security Survey – the results
As I write this bit we have witnessed the 4,000th survey completed!! That’s a lot and works out at 3.65 surveys a day since we launched the site; up again from the last two measurements of 3.54 in November and 3.48 a couple of months before that. In fact the rate during January to March this year was 4.22 per day. The increase is largely to do with extra visitors to the site, but also the competition we ran over Xmas and the New Year with our friends at Switched-on-Products to win a light switch timer. Once we get to 5,000 surveys we can introduce some additional programming and start delving further into the findings.
With over 4,000 completed surveys we can now say with some confidence that some things we reveal are pretty much facts. So, here are ten home security FACTS about people right across the UK
- 42% DO NOT have a door viewer or clear glazing in their entrance door to enable them to see a caller at the door
- 66.3% DO NOT have a door chain or limiter to enable them to control the opening of the entrance door
- 20.7% DO NOT have a light outside the front door to illuminate a caller
- 38% have a shed in the garden that is poorly secured
- 80.2% DO NOT mark their valuable property
- 11% of householders have their mail delivered into a lockable mail box - 85% continue to have their mail delivered through the door
- 5.5% ONLY have a front door certificated to an enhanced security standard
- 5.9% ONLY have front windows certificated to an enhanced security standard
- 3% are still hiding keys in the front garden or under a flower pot!
- 9.7% display items of value through their front windows
Some of you reading this (police and neighbourhood watch people) might find it useful to quote the above statistics when promoting your crime prevention initiatives. Do please quote the source, i.e. 'According to The Crime Prevention Website's Home Security Survey..........'
Where do people park their cars?
I recently recieved a request to release the data for a question we ask in the survey about where people park their cars overnight. Don't read too much into the results, because until I get the new programming sorted I can't seperate out those that live in blocks of apartments and therefore use car parks. That said the results are still useful and I draw the following conclusions from them...
- 25.7% of respondents park their vehicles in a secure place (bold italic)
- 61.2% park their vehicles is a moderately secure place (bold)
- 13.1% park their vehicles in an insecure place
The findings to the survey's parking question show us that our respondents park in the following places:
- 10.8% on a driveway or hard standing behind a gate
- 53.3% on a driveway or hard standing not behind a gate
- 14.7% in a garage with the door locked
- 1.0% in a garage with the door unlocked
- 0.5% in a garage with no door
- 4.9% in parking bays outside the dwelling
- 12.0% in the street
CAR PARKS 2.3%
- 1.5% in a courtyard parking area in view of the dwelling
- 0.1% in a car park out of sight from the dwelling, but locked
- 0.5% in a car park out of sight from the dwelling and unlocked
- 0.1% in a secure underground car park
- 0.1% in an insecure underground car park
- 0.5% none of the above
Please, please promote the Home Security Survey. It’s totally free and confidential, we don’t use the person’s email address ever again and we think it’s a really good way of introducing someone to the dizzy heights of crime prevention.
Since 1 October 2014 I’ve been keeping tabs on which counties return the most surveys. This helps me identify the places in the UK where the site is being supported. Here’s a league table showing the current positions and what they were back at the end of December.
3 Months to March 31 2015
3 months to Dec 31 2014
Glamorgan ↑ (New Entry!)
West Yorkshire ↑
Cheshire ↑ (New Entry!)
West Midlands ↔
Midlothian ↑ (New Entry!)
It’s great to see Glamorgan and Midlothian in the table for the first time and I suspect they are there because someone in the local police has promoted it – thank you to whoever that was! Cheshire too makes its first appearance in the top 12. It comes as no surprise to find that seven of the top twelve counties have police services which link to our website.
Crime in the news
Here follows my most read news items (and advice pages) 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.
Please note that several of the news stories were not written during this period (January to March 2015) and a couple of them are quite old, such as the one at number 10 which goes back to 2013!
Most read News Stories
- The Little Book of BIG Scams: a comprehensive guide to fraud prevention
- Multipoint locking doors – close the door, lift the handle, turn and remove the key!
- Not the best review for the August Smart Lock
- Immobilise Security Flaw Explained
- Met Police warning over firm's cold calling
- Keyless vehicle thefts increasing
- Police Strengths and the 2015 UK Election
- Immobilise fix security flaw
- Surveillance of the front of a house is vitally important
- New rules for the use of private CCTV cameras on the way
The three most ever read news stories since launch three years ago are:
- Sign the e-petition to prevent theft of car number plates
- Multipoint locking doors – close the door, lift the handle, turn and remove the key!
- Met Police warning over firm's cold calling
Website pages most viewed via Twitter (In order)
- Immobilise Security Flaw Explained
- Congratulations! You have won the Lottery! Or have you?
- Huge changes for female police officers over last 30 years
- Burglar Alarms Advice
- Security routine at night
- Trick or Treat is not fun for everyone
- Home Security Survey - DIY
- Police Strengths and the 2015 UK Election
- Dyfed Powys Police may not be monitoring live CCTV images next year
- Je Suis Charlie
Most visited page via Twitter since launch three years ago is our Home Page
Where do I get my news from?
- Press releases sent to me by a selection of the UK’s police services
- Former police colleagues
- Websites specialising in gathering news headlines for crime prevention
- Partnering websites and supporters
- Online newspapers
If you would like me to feature a crime prevention initiative you are engaged with please get in touch using Contact on the main website or my email address if you have it.
Website pages most landed on this period (In order)
A landing page is the page someone first arrives at when they click on a search result. The visitor may then go on to visit further pages. The most visited page on the site is always ‘UK law concerning fences, walls and gates’ and then the next six positions are usually pretty similar each quarter. It’s not until you get to position 8 that the pages start to differ each time I take a measurement. ‘Multi-point locks’ appears for the first time probably because I gave the page a bit of a push over Xmas; especially reminding people to use the multi-point lock correctly. There’s specific guidance about this at this link.
- The UK law concerning fences, walls and gates
- Anti-climb measures for fences and walls
- Burglar Alarms Advice
- Defensive plants, shrubs and trees (shrub fences)
- Home Page
- Security for the garage
- Glazing for domestic security
- Security shutters, grilles and door gates
- More things to improve door security
- Multi-point locks
- Insurance company requirements
- Locking sliding sash windows
Crime prevention products
One key measure to improve your home security when you’re away on holiday (or out for the evening) is to make your place look like it’s occupied. We can do this is a number of ways:
- Use several light timers to bring lights on and off in a way that reflects your normal domestic routine
- Ask the neighbours to park a car on your driveway, take in the mail, cut the grass and draw the curtains or close the blinds etc.
- Although expensive, timed and detector operated devices can be installed to automatically open and close curtains and blinds
- You can play sounds of normal household noises on a Hi-Fi - I joke not! CDs like this can be purchased!
- Fake TV lights
The one on the bottom of the list is the Fake TV light, a relatively cheap device which is designed to replicate an operating TV in the dark.
I thought I’d give one a go and so bought one off Amazon a few days ago in time for this newsletter.
The device is small - 8cm x 7cm x 5cm - (much smaler than it appears on Amazon) plugs into the mains via an adaptor plug and uses very little energy. It comes in a magnetically sealed box, which is good for storing the thing when not in use.
I first set it up in the lounge, but found that the lamp I use on a timer when I’m out drowned out the fake TV's light. So I put it upstairs in the front bedroom instead and plugged it in on the dressing table and pointed it towards the blinds. I went outside with the family for a look and I must say we all thought it was pretty good. It really did look like someone was watching the TV in bed. The light emitted is completely unpredictable and you’ll see the thing fading, flickering and changing colour; everything you’d expect if the light was coming from a TV screen.
The device can be triggered using the in-built solar switch and timed to go on for 4 or 7 hours, but I decided instead to switch the unit on and then control it from a plug-in timer.
It is highly unlikely that experiments will ever be conducted to establish the device’s real value as a crime deterrent, but if you want to cast doubt in the burglar’s mind then it’s a useful addition to your holiday security arsenal. I will definately be using mine!
Here's the US website for Fake TV (because there's a film with it)
I got mine on Amazon for £15.60 which included the postage, although I’ve seen it online for as much as £29.99, so don’t pay too much! I see that there's now a 'brighter' (and more expensive) version available, so do your homework before you buy.
Felines to go after felons
And in case you didn't see it, here's that interesting story I published on 1 April concerning the police use of cats in their fight against crime.........
We all know that for well over 160 years the police service has employed dogs to assist them in all manner of tasks, including tracking and bringing down criminals, sniffing out drugs and explosives and being at the side of a police officer when engaged in public order events. Horses too have played an important role and the obvious reason why is that both dogs and horses can be trained.
Imagine my surprise then when I read the following press release about the Isle of Man police service's crime fighting cats!
The Manx Red (Felis Catus Manxus Rubrum), which is related to the Manx cat (except it doesn’t have a shortened tail), is apparently unlike most other domestic cats in that it can be trained in a similar fashion to a dog. Obviously they’re not as adept at running after escaping criminals and knocking them over, but they do have very specific uses as the press release below (edited) informs us today.....
Chief Inspector Catherine Fellfritt of the island’s Dog [and now Cat] Section explains that they’re used more for their stalking ability than anything else.
She said: “The Manx Red has the ability to learn and recognise places and faces and with extensive training we’re able to deploy them to track individual suspects. As you know, cats have considerably better eyesight than we do and can see extremely well in the dark. When they close in on the suspect (they have been trained to recognise) they do what any other cats do. It’ll crouch down and crawl slowly towards its ‘prey’. Normally it will get within 25 metres of the suspect, close enough for us to gather a good image. Our cats are fitted with GPS trackers, so if an immediate arrest is warranted then we can find the cat and the suspect almost immediately.
“Although we can’t give away our training methods I can say that we select the candidates when they’re just kittens and by around six months we’ll know which individuals might progress on to become members of our police team.
“We started operations just over a year ago and while this is only a pilot project we’ve used two of our ‘Reds’ to successfully track down two individuals we’ve been trying to find for months and they found them in just two days!”
As well as GPS trackers the cats are fitted with miniature cameras, which transmit the images to ‘the cloud’. This means that the recordings can be examined almost in real time. The pilot received support and additional funding from the Home Office after a Manx Red was used to successfully track down a man wanted for sheep rustling on the island. “Following our known suspect over the wild moors of the island and catching him in the act was simply not practical” remarked Chief Inspector Fellfritt, “So using ‘Doris’ to secure the information we needed was the natural thing to do. We were absolutely delighted when Doris found the man and with the evidence she found we were able to bring a successful prosecution.”
Mr Alan Woode, the Lieutenant Governorof the island said: “In all my days I had no idea that a cat could be trained to follow someone. I must admit that I found the whole idea preposterous, but when I saw the evidence and witnessed the dedication of the officers and trainers at first hand I was immediately sold.
“The possibilities for their future use are, frankly, limitless, but of course we must ensure that they’re deployment meets with the strict code of practice, which the island’s police have already drawn up.
“I must congratulate the Chief Inspector for discovering the Manx Red’s crime fighting ability, an ability that was hiding in plain sight all along”
The pilot is set to run for a further twelve months, but already mainland police forces, including Cumbria Constabulary, have expressed a keen interest.
Chief Inspector Fellfritt reminded everyone at the press launch today that they had had to take into account issues such as Data Protection, the Freedom of Information Act and the Human Rights Act. “We can’t just set a Red on just anyone” she warned “There’s has to be a very real reason for the follow” The police have also worked very closely with the local branch of the RSPCA to ensure that their training methods and the work the cats are expected to do does not breach legislation.
Inspector Tom Catcher, spokesperson for the RSPCA, who was at the press launch, said “We’ve known about the ‘Reds’ ability to track for many years. Early last century hunters on the island would take the cats with them to retrieve birds, just like you would a hunting dog, but I have to congratulate the island’s police for finding such a positive use for the Red’s natural ability; quite incredible.”
It seems that the Manx Reds are usually away from the base station for anything up to two days before returning for a well earned feed and rest by the fire. Whether they know what they’re doing to help the people of the island we’ll never know, but the island is most definitely a safer community with their ‘purrlicing’. (Please excuse that dreadful pun)
For more on this story, images and the full press release, please click here.
And finally... a few bad jokes
A wife and her husband are in bed when the wife hears something downstairs.
“Psst”, she says to the husband “We’ve got a burglar downstairs and I’m sure he’s eating that sponge I baked this afternoon.”
“What do you want me to do?” asked the slumbering husband, “Call the police, or an ambulance”
....and here's a couple from Tommy (Just like that) Cooper
This officer stopped me and said: “Why are you driving with a bucket of water on the passenger’s seat?” I said: “So that I can dip my headlights.”
This guy walked up to me the other night and said: “Quick, did you see a policeman 'round here?” I said no. He said: “Good. Stick’em up.”
Until the next time.....
Keep 'em peeled!