Community Safety

2019/20 Annual Report

  • Cash Transfer Fraud


Some 6,000 people have lost money where fraudsters have intercepted emails or phone calls and then impersonated holiday companies or solicitors and tricked people into paying them through electronic transfers via copycat emails or bogus web sites. So beware of any suspicious emails or phone calls between booking and paying the bill like a request to change the account to pay into. Check the original phone number or web site you originally used.


Never give personal details on the phone, answering emails or at the door.


  • Scams


Beware of Scam letters, emails, phone calls and door step callers saying things like:

Your bank account is in danger

Your roof has problems

There is a problem with your computer

A stranded family member needs money

You are owed a tax rebate

You have won a prize or inherited money

You need to pay in advance for something


  • Never allow access to your computer, tablet or phone.


  • Protect your credit/debit card with a protective sleeve to prevent rouge scanning. These are available free from the Council Info office at Park Hall.


  • Computer Security


Back up your computer files and keep software up to date.


Ensure your anti virus is up to date. Delete old files and internet junk.


  • Fraudulent catalogues.


Beware of catalogues that say you have won money and all you have to do is place an order. Such catalogues are: Our Life and Biotonic


  • Home Safety


Faulty white goods can cause fires.


Check so you can be notified of any problems and


  • During warm weather ensure that shed and outbuilding windows are closed and doors locked.


  • Do you have any external mail box?


If so there have been cases of mail being intercepted and the house holders details being used to order goods or credit cards and when they are delivered they are again taken from the external box.


  • Car thefts and thefts from cars are on the increase so never leave items on show in your car - even sunglasses and ensure you lock the car and keep the key safe in your house. Modern car keys can be scanned from 10 metres away.


  • Report problems to Action Fraud 0300 123 2040


  • Join the Neighbourhood Watch OWL (online watch link) system for updates on fraud and scams at


  • Check these web sites for more information.


  • Typical Scams and how to avoid them


Click here for presentation from Hertfordshire Trading Standards


  • General


During 2019 an additional 75 officers were recruited by the police in Hertfordshire, taking the total number to more than 2000. Meanwhile Police Community Support Officer Ilias Poulakis is a newcomer to the police presence in Harpenden (Vaughan Road police station no: 01582 768769).


According to official police statistics the number of crimes dealt with in Harpenden during 2019 was down on the two previous years at 2895, that is compared with 3118 and 3132 in 2017 and 2018. The most criminally active months last year were April, May and October.


Police say their current priorities locally are to combat flytipping and drugs as well as parking and/or speeding near schools. Shoplifting appears statistically to be on the decline; last year incidents were down from a peak of 38 in May to just five in December. Burglaries went up in number but only to eight and nine in November and December respectively, and Harpenden is still regarded as a 'safe area' by Hertfordshire and St Albans District standards.


Among the categories of assorted theft, a recent arrest was made for the audacious removal of an exhaust silencer from underneath a car, whose enclosed catalytic converters could have been sold for its precious metal (e.g. platinum) content.


Scams perpetrated via email or text are an ongoing problem for law enforcers, as are rogue traders including cold callers typically offering to carry out repair work on say allegedly damaged roof tiles. Another emailed scam, aimed at the innocent elderly, asks victims for their bank details in order, it is claimed by the scammers, to pay for their TV licences. Harpenden Society members and their friends and acquaintances are urged to sign up to the Neighbourhood Watch OWL scheme on to be kept aware of local crime activity, notably burglaries or attempted break-ins in their immediate vicinity.


Paul Gardiner