Crime levels in Harpenden have remained at remarkably low levels in recent years, at least by national standards, despite the government requirement that Hertfordshire Constabulary has made savings of £40 million over three years, by means of greater sharing of resources with Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire police forces and more ‘low cost’ policing through additional use of volunteer Special Constables.
During the same period we have seen the appointment of a Police and Crime Commissioner effectively to replace what was the Hertfordshire Police Authority, and the national decision was made to include ‘cybercrime’ (which now constitutes over 50% of all recorded offences) in official crime figures.
The nature of what is normally thought of as crime has changed considerably. Preoccupation with ubiquitous crimes such as theft, robbery, burglary and assault remains. But, perhaps understandably and encouragingly, greater attention is now being paid to the wider issues of community safety, from upholding trading standards to protecting the vulnerable elderly from cybercrime. Supporting the victims of crime has become a sharper focus of police work.
Social factors help keep traditional crimes low in Harpenden, though burglars and bag-snatchers, mostly from outside the town, continue to be attracted to our relatively prosperous town. And, in the ‘computer age’ of the 21st Century, we are as vulnerable to cybercrimes as any community in the country.
More than ever before the Police are asking for our help in solving crimes, stressing the importance of community involvement in policing, notably via Neighbourhood Watch - whose Police Community Support Officer for the Harpenden area is Tom Perrin (phone 01707 806129; email: email@example.com ) or or visit OWL Watch (www.owl.co.uk ).
Click here for presentation from Hertfordshire Trading Standards
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.
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.
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.
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
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 www.owl.co.uk