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Home Safety

Doorstep safety

Bogus callers, sometimes known as distraction burglars, are people who try to trick their way into people’s homes with the intention of stealing money or property.

These people often work in teams of two or more and will often target people who are elderly or vulnerable.  Bogus callers will always seem very polite and plausible and will try many different ways to try and gain access into your home.  They will often pretend to be on official business, pretending to be Council officials, workmen from utilities companies (gas, water or electricity) or even police officers.

Most companies will send you an appointment letter naming the person you should expect.  You can ask gas, water or electricity companies for a unique password so that you can double-check the caller’s identity.
Never let a person into your home unless you are sure about their identity and that you want them in your home.
If you are in any doubt about the person on your doorstep do not let them into your home.
Always:
  • Use the door chain when answering your door.  If possible fit a door viewer and an outside light
  • Ask to see the caller’s identity card and check it thoroughly.  If you feel unsure, ask the caller to wait on the doorstep while you phone the company to check
  • Lock the door whilst you go and phone.  Don’t open the door until you are absolutely sure.  Anyone who is genuine will not mind you doing this
  • If in doubt – keep them out
  • If you are suspicious – call the police
You can always ask the caller to come back at agreed time and day when you can have someone with you.

Rogue Traders

People claiming to be workmen may try to carry out unnecessary work on your house or garden and can be very persistent and convincing.  Never agree to allow someone who has called unexpectedly to carry out work for you.  If someone calls at your house offering to do some work for you, tell them that you will get some quotes from other companies and get back to them.
 
Always use a reputable company.  If you don’t know of companies locally Swindon is part of a national “Buy With Confidence” scheme that will help you to identify Trading Standards approved tradesmen in your area. They can be found on www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk
 
More general advice can be obtained from the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06 or Trading Standards on 01793 466155.
 
Never part with money – don’t do business on the doorstep.  If you didn’t ask them to call, don’t agree to them doing any work.
 

How secure is your shed?

Many people take great care when securing their homes but pay little attention to the security of their sheds and garages that are often used to store high value property such as power tools, lawn mowers, golf clubs and bicycles, not to mention other tools that can be used to break into the main house.
 
Sheds, in particular, are notoriously difficult to secure, but it is possible to reduce the risk of a thief getting away with your property. The type of criminal that breaks into sheds and garages is our old friend (or enemy) the opportunist. So by taking a few precautions you can make life too difficult for him to bother trying – after all there are lots of easier targets.
 
Securing a shed

Fit the door with two closed shackle padlocks made of hardened steel. These should be affixed to robust hasps and staples that must be bolted through the door of the shed and reinforced at the back with a steel plate. One lock should be fixed about a third of the way down from the top and the other, a third of the way up from the bottom. This will make the door a lot less easy to force.

  • Use the locks at all times.
  • Protect glass by fitting a grille or strong wire mesh to the inside of the window and nail up or fit locks to any windows that can be opened.
  • Prevent anyone seeing into your shed by placing curtains or other coverings over the window or obscure them with paint.
Garages
Much of the advice for garden sheds also applies to garages. In addition you should consider fitting:
  • High security garage door locks that can be fitted to the sides of an ‘up and over’ door provide excellent security and are easily obtained from DIY stores and locksmiths.
  • Fitting a simple, low cost, battery operated shed alarm to the door of your shed or garage may warn of any attempted break in to your property and can act as a deterrent.
Please remember to:
  • Clearly and indelibly mark your property in as many places as you can with your name and postcode.
  • Take photographs of any valuable property such as statues or garden ornaments. This may help to identify items and help to secure a conviction.
  • Secure items such as bicycles to the structure of a building or chain as many items together as possible, fastening the chain with a closed shackle padlock.
Finally
Never leave tools or ladders lying around the garden. Always store garden furniture or tools away in a secure place when they are not in use.
 

Fire Safety at Home

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service offer free home safety checks, free fitted smoke alarms and advice on fire safety to people who may be at risk.
 
Victims of fire fatalities are often known to local social care, housing or other professional services.  Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service will visit homes where the occupants are older people, people with disabilities and other vulnerable people to discuss the risks of fire and to look for any visible signs of fire risk.  They also work with carers to ensure that they have the relevant knowledge and skills to get themselves and the person they care for out safely in the event of fire.
 
To help reduce the risk of fire and keep yourself safe:
  • Never overload electrical sockets
  • Never put candles near curtains or other materials
  • Never leave lit candles unattended
  • Never leave deep fat fryers unattended
  • Never smoke in bed
  • Make sure cigarette stubs are properly extinguished
  • Always fit smoke detectors and check them regularly to ensure that they are still working
  • Plan your escape routes from the house.  If there is a fire you will know how to get out safely
If you require any support in increasing fire safety in the home, contact Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 389 7849 or view the information on their website www.wiltsfire.gov.uk .  General information can be found on the national fire website www.gov.uk/firekills.
 
In the event of a fire emergency get out, stay out, dial 999
 

Swindon Community Safety Partnership

  • Fifth Floor
  • Wat Tyler House
  • Beckhampton Street
  • Swindon
  • SN1 2JH
  • Tel: 01793 466506
  • E-mail: csp@swindon.gov.uk

© Swindon Borough Council Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon SN1 2JH