Crime Prevention

Crime Prevention Tips

Tonbridge & and Malling is a low crime area but there are still things that you can do to make sure that you feel safe and that will protect yourself and your property. The tips below are from advice given by the Home Office and Kent Police.

Spring security advice

As spring approaches the number of shed break-ins can increase. Items such as lawnmowers, bicycles, golf clubs, fishing tackle and power tools can all be kept insecurely in sheds and these can all be easy pickings for thieves to target.

The tips below can help to prevent you from becoming a victim of this crime.

  • Install a shed alarm, with a notice displayed to warn thieves that it is not worth the effort of breaking in. The alarms are easy to install and can be purchased at most DIY stores.
  • Make sure the door is securely locked at all times.
  • Ensure all valuable property is marked with your postcode. Post coding property makes your belongings very unattractive to a thief by making items easily identifiable and difficult to sell.
  • Lock up pedal cycles. Use bike locks and chain them inside to other large items or to the shed.
  • Keep a record of the make, model and ID numbers of bicyles and all other equipment and take photographs of unusual items.
  • Check your household insurance policy to ensure that the value of things stored inside is covered by your contents' policy.

Autumn security advice

Homes left unoccupied during the darker evening of autumn and winter can become more vulnerable. However, there are precautions that you can take to make your home more secure.

  • Make your home appear occupied at all times. A light and radio placed on a timer switch will help to make your home appear occupied.
  • Tall, lockable gates, high fences and prickly plants will deter possible intruders.
  • Secure windows, paying particular attention to those on the ground floor. Use locks and bolts and make sure the keys are out of sight.

Halloween and Firework safety advice

As schools break up for the half term holiday, Kent Police will be using its powers to ensure that everyone enjoys a safe and happy Halloween and bonfire night. They will be running, as part of Operation Excalibur, high profile policing throughout the county and using stop and search powers to clamp down on the possession and use of prohibited fireworks. Anyone aged 16 or over caught flouting the rules could face an £80 fixed penalty notice for disorder. The police will also be working with Trading Standards to make sure retailers play their part in the responsible sale of fireworks and Halloween goods.

Trick or Treat window posters and an advice leaflet has been produced by the Police. These can be placed in your window to prevent Trick or Treaters knocking at your door. The police have also produced a fireworks information poster for young people.

Keep Christmas Crime Free

The Christmas and New Year holiday period can be a time for family and friends to get together and celebrate the season. Unfortunately opportunist thieves also operate at this time of year.

Crime levels in Tonbridge and Malling are low and there is no need to be duly worried about being a victim of a crime. However, there are a few simple measures that can deter and prevent crime and help you keep the season jolly.

When shopping

  • When shopping for Christmas presents remember to keep them locked away in the boot of your car - if they can be seen, they could be stolen.
  • Always close car windows, engage steering locks and close all doors.
  • Park in a well lit area or in an attended car park.
  • Make sure your purse is secure. Never keep your chequebook and card together and keep your pin number confidential.

At home

  • Don't leave presents under the Christmas tree in view of the window. Hide them somewhere safe until you need them (which makes it more of a surprise too!)
  • Mark expensive presents, such as electronic equipment with your postcode by engraving or using a UV pen.
  • Dispose of packing carefully as empty boxes left outside can advertise that you have new goods inside.

If you are away

  • If you are going away over the festive period remember to tell your neighbours that you will be away and ask them to keep an eye on the house. Cancel milk and papers.
  • Buy some timers for your lights, radio and TV so it looks as if you are at home. These can be picked up cheaply from any DIY store.
  • Remember to securely lock all doors and windows.

If you are out on the town

  • Don't leave bags over the back of your chair and keep wallets and purses close to your body.
  • Make prior arrangements as to how you will get home. Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be back.
  • Don't get into an unlicensed taxi
  • Don't drink too much you could become a target for thieves.

Household and Property

  • When you go out, always lock the door and close the windows - even if you are just going out for a short time.
  • Don't leave spare keys outside or in a garage of shed, and put car keys or garage keys out of sight in the house.
  • Use timers for lights and radios if you need to be away from home overnight. They will create the impression that someone is in.
  • Visible burglar alarms, good lighting and carefully directed security lighting can put burglars off. But make sure that lights don't disturb your neighbours and that alarms turn off after 20 minutes.
  • Fitting a 'spy hole' allows you to see who is at the door.
  • Having a door chain means you can open the door a little way to talk to them.
  • Don't keep large amounts of cash in the house and hide your jewellery and valuables out of sight.
  • Property marking can deter thieves - if it is marked in some way it will be more difficult for thieves to get rid of it.
  • Make sure that any improvements you make don't stop you and your family from getting out of your house as quickly as possible if there is a fire.

Bogus Callers

  • Most people who come to your door will be genuine callers. But it's best to make sure.
  • Fitting a door chain or spy hole will help you check who the caller is.
  • If you were not expecting someone to call, a genuine caller will not mind waiting outside while you contact their company. Find the phone number in the phone book or look on your last bill.
  • Most companies have a password scheme.
  • If you let someone into your home, even if it is someone you know, and you become uncomfortable, make excuses and leave. Go to a neighbour's house, or ask a friend to come back with you.

Personal Safety out and about

The chances of you or a member of your family becoming a victim of violent crime are low. However, you can make yourself even less likely to be the victim of a violent crime by taking a few sensible precautions.

  • You will be safest in bright, well lit and busy areas.
  • Try to look and act confident - look like you know where you are going and walk tall.
  • If someone tries to take something from you, it may be better to let them take it rather than get into a confrontation and risk injury.
  • You can use reasonable force in self-defence. You are allowed to protect yourself with something you are carrying anyway (for example, keys or a can or deodorant), but you may not carry a weapon.
  • If you decide to defend yourself, be aware that your attacker may be stronger than you, or may take what you are using in self defence and use it against you. It is often better to shout loudly and run away.
  • Shout 'fire' rather than 'help' - it can get more results.
  • Try not to be conspicuous about the valuables you are carrying. Talking on your mobile phone, carrying a laptop or showing your friend your new gold ring all show thieves that you are worth robbing.
  • When you walking or jogging, you should not listen to a personal stereo through head phones, so you can stay more alert to your surroundings.

Personal Safety - theft and robbery

  • Carry your bag close to you with the clasp facing inwards. Keep it zipped up and make sure your wallet or purse can't be seen. Don't carry large amounts of cash.
  • Spread your possessions about - for example, keep your mobile phone separate from your purse and your keys separate from your credit cards.
  • Cover up any expensive jewellery and, if you must carry other valuables, be discreet.
  • Think about your route, especially if you're going to be on your own or carrying lots of shopping bags.

Vehicle crime

Nationally, vehicle crime has fallen by over 30% during the last five years. However, there are still more than two million vehicle related thefts each year and many of them could be prevented.

  • Never leave keys in the ignition - not even when you are paying for petrol.
  • Don't leave anything on display
  • Fit an alarm or immobiliser
  • Take care where you park your vehicle, avoid poorly lit and deserted areas. Try and find an area that is covered by CCTV cameras.

Business crime

Reducing the risk of business crime will help protect your profits and make sure that people who work with you are safe.

  • Avoid working alone. Get your more experienced staff to work with inexperienced and more vulnerable staff.
  • Do not keep large amounts of money in your till. Leave tills open and empty overnight. Vary your routine when going to the bank.
  • Make it easy to see and be seen. Keep shelves low enough for staff to see what shoppers are doing. Use mirrors to reduce blind spots.
  • Prevent fraud by routinely checking credit and debit cards in line with guidance from card issuers. Check bank notes for forgery.

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