Newsletter Summer 2013

Do you need a relaunch?
It may have been some time since your Neighbourhood Watch scheme had any contact with us and perhaps morale amongst your members is flagging a bit or you have new members since you started. If you would like to hold a relaunch meeting please do let us know.

Street signs and window stickers
These are free of charge for NW members, email us if you need more.

New website for Wycombe District Neighbourhood Watch Association
WDNWA is pleased to announce the launch of its website, www.neighbourhoodwatchwycombe.org Please have a look at its articles and information pages, and if you would like to contribute or suggest topics to be covered please get in touch by using the contact forms.

Thames Valley Neighbourhood Watch Association Conference & AGM
This was held in May and the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Theresa May, was a guest. She presented awards to those Co-ordinators who had “gone the extra mile”, including to 3 committee members of WDNWA, Geoff Pegg, David Gresswell and Doug Meredith, and also to Terry Williams, Joint Area Co-ordinator for Great Kingshill.

Discounts to Neighbourhood Watch members
Jewsons, the builders’ merchant on Bellfield Road, High Wycombe (and their other branches), is offering NW members a discount on their products of between 10% and 60%, just quote WYCD005. Your household insurance company may also offer a discount if you live in a NW registered scheme.

Car theft, both of and from cars, accounts for nearly 25% of all reported crime.
Bad luck, if a professional car thief wants to steal your car he can probably do so in a matter of seconds, and it’s unlikely you can make yours completely secure if a car ringing gang is intent on getting their hands on it, but most car theft is opportunistic rather than professional and the thief is often a lad under 20. But whether a criminal ring or a teenage joyrider, he is looking for the easiest car to steal, and what you want to do is to throw as many obstacles in his path as you can so that he will simply choose another easier car to nick quicker than yours.

It takes just a moment or two to the expert, so always lock all doors and the boot, and don’t leave the engine running even if you are just leaving it while you pop to buy a paper. Cars are often stolen from right by cash machines, petrol pumps and corner shops, or from driveways on winter mornings while being warmed up with the keys in the ignition. If you use remote locking, check it has actually locked the car by trying a door handle.

The theft of cars has changed with recent advances in alarms and immobilisers meaning forced ignition is harder, and so most stolen cars are stolen with the keys. Burglaries take place specifically to steal car keys, so do not leave them lying about on kitchen tables or on keyhooks near the front door and letterbox where a burglar might spot them and fish them off with wire.  It would be maddening if burglars used your own car to transport your stolen belongings away….You should try to keep your car in the garage if you have one and lock the garage as well as the car.  If you park on the driveway get a light installed as thieves prefer to work in the dark. Most car crime occurs right outside the home with the owner inside.

Multi-storey car parks are much safer these days thanks to CCTV. However, car parks in large retail outlets, supermarkets and the like are dangerous – lots of people focusing on shopping and unlikely to notice a crime under their noses. If there are CCTV cameras, park near one, in a well-lit busy spot rather than in a dark corner.

Get an electronic engine immobiliser and/or an alarm professionally fitted. Steering or gear stick locks are also effective – although they can be easily dismantled, doing so takes extra time that may well discourage an opportunistic thief. A good choice for older cars that can be hot-wired.

You should always make it more difficult for your car to be towed away by fake parking enforcement or wheel clamping firms, by turning the wheel towards the kerb when parked, applying the handbrake and parking in gear or in Park in automatics. Rear-wheel drive vehicles should be backed into parking spaces or the driveway, front-wheel drive vehicles should be driven in front first.

Make sure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or registration number is etched on the windows and headlights of your vehicle. This is troublesome for car ring gangs to deal with, so they may decide your car isn’t worth the hassle.

Given that the most popular cars to steal are black Audis and black or silver BMWs, perhaps you should avoid buying one of these and go for a yellow Smart car instead, the most ‘undesirable.’

Theft from cars is a major proportion of all reported crime
Of course you should never leave anything – anything at all – on view in your car. Not a half-empty cigarette packet, an empty shopping bag, loose change…Not the GPS and not the GPS holder or tell-tale suction marks on the windscreen. Do not leave anything with your address on it, or your house keys, bank statements, log book, driving licence, spare key or anything of potential interest to a criminal. Anything you really have to leave in your car should be put in the boot and preferably put there before you arrive at the car park so that you won’t be watched hiding your valuables. Even tax discs can be stolen and sold – consider a tamper-proof disc holder, available from WDNWA.

When driving, be aware that it might only take a moment when you are stopped at traffic lights or in a queue for someone to open one of the passenger doors, or reach in an open window, and snatch a handbag, shopping or other item from the seat.

Another popular crime is to remove car number plates to fix them to the thief’s own car temporarily, go to a petrol station and fill up the tank, then drive off without paying – the CCTV will record the stolen number plates rather than the real ones. You can buy tamper-proof screws from WDNWA.

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