Distraction Burglary – Be On Your Guard.
Any one of us can be a victim of distraction burglary.
Bogus callers who trick their way into people’s homes in order to steal,
or for an accomplice to steal, cash or things of value are often
referred to as distraction burglars.
These criminals frequently pose as persons in authority.
They may even be wearing a credible uniform, perhaps pretending to be
from a utility company, a medical service or even a police officer.
Sometimes they present themselves as someone needing help, a
stalled motorist asking to use your phone, a pregnant woman asking for a
drink of water.
The stories they give unsuspecting homeowners can be very persuasive and plausible, their aim being to get invited inside to carry out the distraction burglary.
Often these cowardly thieves will search out homes with a single
occupant. The elderly and infirm are also favorite targets but any one
of us can fall victim if we are not on our guard.
Up to the point of the bogus caller persuading the victim to open
their door the distraction burglary follows a similar pattern to a Home Invasion.
These criminals don’t use force to push their way in, they use
persuasion instead, if they use force they cease to be distraction
burglars, or con artist, and become home invaders.
A variation of this crime has a bogus caller at the front door
What you can do to prevent becoming a victim of distraction burglary.
Always remember that you do not have to open your door to anyone.
Utility companies rarely call without making an appointment. If
the caller claims that there is some kind of emergency, do not open the
door but ask them to wait while you make checks.
Distraction Burglary. Do not open your door until you are sure of the identity of any callers.
Get the number from the
phone book, do not use any number the caller gives you.
The utility company will either confirm or deny the emergency and whether or not they have sent someone over.
Check the ID of any caller claiming to be a representative of any company, authority or organization.
Ask them to slip their identification under the door or through
the mail slot. A genuine caller will be happy to comply so there is no
need to feel embarrassed.
Do not phone any numbers on the ID card to check the
authenticity of the caller, the number could be that of an accomplice,
use the phone book to look up the number.
If a caller gives you a story that seems suspicious, such as
informing you that you have won a prize in a competition, or draw, that
you know you never entered do not open your door and tell them that you
have called for assistance.
A bogus caller may claim that they urgently need to use your
phone to call the emergency services, remember that it would be unusual
for someone not to be in possession of a cell phone these days. However,
keep your door closed and offer to make the call for them.
Make full use of any security measures that your home has to thwart distraction burglary attempts. If you have Outside Security Cameras
use these to check who is at your door and to see if there is anyone
lurking around the sides, or the back, of your home. Look out of a
window to see who is at the door.
Door Viewers (peepholes)
are a good idea, especially wide angle ones, if you have one, use it.
If a caller is standing so close to the door viewer that you cannot see
them clearly or you cannot see if there is anyone beside them, ask them
to step back.
Never trust anyone who just turns up at your doorstep, no matter how respectable they look.
Door chains are better than nothing but are only as strong as the
screws that fix them to the door and door frame.
It is best to avoid
opening your door even just a crack but if you must do so, to accept a
parcel for example, there are devices on the market that offer better
protection than door chains.
Should you fall victim to distraction burglary do not hesitate to inform the police.
Unfortunately many distraction burglaries go unreported because
victims feel ashamed of being tricked.
The fact is that anyone of any
age or background can be a victim and the police need to know of all instances of the crime.
Home Security Articles
He looks out for houses with mail or newspapers have been left to
pile up or other signs that the family may be away on vacation. He may
do $2000 worth of damage to steal $200 worth of your items, he may sell
these items for just $20, or less, he doesn’t care. All he cares about is
getting his fix. . . Opportunist Burglar