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Elderly and Vulnerable - Turn Away Unknown Callers
Police in the Cotswolds and Stroud Division are urging elderly residents to turn away ANYONE who comes to their door without a prior appointment.
And officers want the public to help by spreading the crime prevention message amongst their elderly relatives and friends - particularly those who don't follow, or who don't have access to, the local press.
Despite numerous previous warnings elderly people in the Cotswolds and Stroud division are still falling victim to bogus callers posing as salesmen, utilities workers, council officials and even police officers.
By using a fake identity and a range of believable scenarios these callous offenders normally distract homeowners just long enough to allow an accomplice to enter the address and steal property.
"It's unfortunate that elderly homeowners are still falling victim to these types of crime," said Inspector Steve Williams, of Cirencester police.
"Perhaps they are more trusting and less cynical than younger people. Whatever the reason, offenders deliberately target older pensioners because they believe they will be more susceptible to distraction burglary.
"Crimes of this type are particularly distressing for the victim as, aside from the material loss involved in a distraction burglary, they often feel foolish for having been taken in.
"Their confidence takes a real knock and it can often lead to victims withdrawing from contact with the outside world."
Inspector Williams said it was his desire to reduce the number of distraction burglaries and increase the number of arrests in the Cotswolds and Stroud Division.
"We are asking elderly residents in the Cotswolds and Stroud areas to turn away ANYONE who comes to their door without a prior appointment," he said.
"Offenders are so adept at assuming false identities, complete with official looking documents and cover stories, it really isn't worth the risk of allowing a stranger into your home.
"If elderly residents need improvements made to their home or garden, if they need groceries or to contact their local council they should either contact the relevant company or service themselves, using numbers from the phonebook, or get a trusted friend or relative to do it for them.
"If callers do come to the house and they don't leave, or they act in a suspicious manner, Inspector Williams urges residents to call the police. We would rather attend and discover that a caller is genuine than find out that the householder has been burgled and the offender is long gone!
"By following this simple advice, and by ensuring that ground-floor doors and windows are always locked - even when residents are at home - we will hopefully see far fewer incidents of distraction burglary in the division."
Inspector Williams urged members of the public with elderly relatives and friends to pass on this important crime prevention message.
"If you hear about this initiative or read about it in a local newspaper make sure you pass on the information to elderly people you know," he said.
"Lets work together to beat the burglars and keep the community safe".
Anyone with information about distraction burglary is asked to call Gloucestershire police on 0845 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
: 05/02/2007 13:17:58
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