Crime Update – theft & burglary

Crime Update – theft & burglaryEssex Police - Protecting & Serving Essex - December Crime report

Once again, despite receiving some 40 pages of crime summaries during December, none affected West Bergholt, early January, though has seen one incident.  It is worth mentioning another local incident that may give cause for concern – a house was burgled not that far away on 18th January, access was gained by smashing a window, posted below is some advice on making your home less attractive to burglars.

Theft from a motor vehicle – Spring Lane

At 19:30 on 4th January, unknown suspects removed tools to the value of approximately £1,500 from the victim’s vehicle.

If you have been offered cheap tools, think twice – they might be stolen!

Information Releases

Just one has been issued recently, coupled with the advice mentioned above, on making your home appear less attractive to burglars.

Keep warmStaying warm in winter

Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health problems like pneumonia. Find out some simple things you can do to keep warm, stay healthy and make the best use of your heating at home.

Financial help with heating your home

If you are over 60, disabled or on a low income, you may be able to get financial help to heat your home. Contact Colchester council for advice.   

Stay warm in your home

Cold Weather Payment

If you’re receiving certain benefits during very cold weather, you may qualify for a Cold Weather Payment

There are some simple tips to stay warm and safe in your home during the winter.

A warm home during the day

To keep warm at home during the day try to:

  • heat your main living room to around 18-21°C (64-70°F) and the rest of the house to at least 16°C (61°F)
  • heat all the rooms you use in the day 
  • make sure you keep your living room warm throughout the day and heat your  bedroom before going to bed
  • set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed

In very cold weather, set the heating to come on earlier, rather than turn the thermostat up. This means you won’t be cold while you wait for your home to heat up.

A warm home at night

To keep safe and warm at home during the night you should:

  • try to keep the temperature above 18°C (65°F) in your bedroom overnight
  • open the window or door a little at night for ventilation if you use a fire or heater in your bedroom during winter
  • never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket, even if the blanket is switched off
  • unplug blankets before you go to bed, unless they have a thermostat control for safe all-night use 
  • get your electric blanket tested every three years for safety – Age UK or your local fire and rescue service may be able to do this for you

To be put in touch with an Age UK group near you, call Age UK’s freephone advice line on 0800 169 6565.

Keep the heat in with insulation

Insulation makes your home warm and healthy and will also help to keep your heating costs down. You may also be able to get financial help to insulate your home.

It’s a good idea to:

  • fit draught-proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors
  • make sure your loft has at least 10–11 inches (270 millimetres) of insulation -any home with 4 inches (100 millimetres) or less should have it topped up
  • make sure wall cavities are insulated
  • insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes

Dress warmly

You can help keep warm by:

  • wearing plenty of thin layers, rather than one thick one
  • putting on a coat, hat, scarf, gloves and warm shoes or boots when you go  outside
  • wearing clothes made of wool, cotton or fleecy synthetic fibres
  • wearing bed socks and thermal underwear at night

Stay healthy in winter

There are things you can do that will reduce the risk of illness and protect you against the cold.

Get an annual flu jab

You can get a free jab if you:

  • have serious heart, lung or kidney disease or diabetes
  • have a weak immune system, caused by disease or medical treatment
  • have had a stroke or TIA (transient ischaemic attack)
  • are aged 65 years or over
  • are pregnant

Talk to your GP or pharmacist if you think you might qualify for a free flu jab.

Eat well

Eating regular meals will help keep your energy levels up during winter. Try to:

  • have plenty of hot food and drinks
  • plan your meals and keep your diet as varied as possible
  • aim to include five portions of fruit and vegetables daily – this includes tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables

Stay active

Exercise is good for your overall health and it can keep you warm in winter. Even a small amount of exercise can bring health benefits. If possible, try to move around at least once an hour.

Recognise the signs of hypothermia

Hypothermia is caused by getting too cold. Older people, babies and people with certain health conditions are among those more at risk.

Shivering can be used as a guide to how severe hypothermia is. If a person can stop shivering on their own, the hypothermia is mild. If they can’t stop shivering, it’s moderate to severe. Severe hypothermia needs urgent medical treatment in hospital.

The Initial Attraction – Opportunist Crime

Without that initial attraction most crimes could be avoided, statistics show that:

most crimes are opportunist crimes, yes they may go out intending to commit crime but the victim is not yet chosen. So if there is no attraction then you may not become a victim.

What is the attraction?

  • The shed or garage with minimal security and tools visible through the window.
  • A lone person down a dark street talking loudly on an illuminated new iPhone.
  • The house in darkness with the side gate flapping open welcoming.
  • That accessible open window or door.
  • The purse sitting in the open handbag on top of the shopping trolley.
  • Group sitting chatting at a bar table with a mobile phone just sitting there on the table.
  • The bag on the back seat of an unattended car, even though the bag may only contain your sports clothes the thief does not know this until he/she has smashed the window and stolen it.
  • The tradesman’s signwritten van parked on the dark drive by the gate with accessible doors and unprotected pipe tube on the roof.
  • The partygoer that’s had too much to drink and is unaware of his/her surroundings.
  • Shiny new ride on lawn mower sitting on the grass in full view of the road with no postcode/security markings visible.

The above is just short list I am sure you can think of more. What can you do? STOP, think like a thief, spot the attraction and where possible remove it.

For further crime reduction advice contact your local Crime Prevention Officer using the police non emergency telephone number 101.

Secure your home and remain vigilant

How to avoid becoming a victim of burglary.

Thankfully burglary is rare but unfortunately it does happen.  As discussed above, most burglaries happen on the spur of the moment, the criminal sees an open window or open door or the house looks unoccupied.   It is relatively easy to avoid becoming a victim if you follow some simple rules.

Tips to avoid becoming a victim

  • When you go out, always close and lock the external doors and windows, even if you are going out for a short time.
  • If you are installing new doors and windows, get ones that are certified to British Standard BS7950 (windows) or PAS23-1 (doors).
  • Window locks, especially on older windows will help stop people getting in. Burglars don’t like to draw attention to themselves so will not want to make a noise by smashing a window.
  • If you have deadlocks, use them. They make it harder for the thief to get out again but don’t leave the key near the door or in an obvious place.
  • Don’t leave spare keys outside or in a garage or shed and put car and garage keys out of sight in the house.

Intruder Alarm Advice

If you are considering an intruder alarm system it is advisable to seek advice from installers who are members of a professional body, such as:

Please note that Essex Police do not recommend any particular product or supplier.

  • National Security Inspectorate, Sentinel House, 5 Reform Road, Maidenhead SL6 8BY Telephone: (switchboard): 01628
  • SSAIB The Smoke Houses, Cliffords Fort, North Shields, Tyne & Wear NE30 1JE Telephone: 0191 296 3242 –
  • British Security Industry Association (BSIA), Kirkham House, John Comyn Drive, Worcester, WR3 7NS – Telephone 0845 389 3889 –
  • For other security products that have ‘Police Preferred Specification’ status visit Secured by Design –

Systems should be fitted to British/European Standards –

Always get at least 3 different approved installers to give you quotes before you decide.

Systems can be monitored at special centres (Alarm Reporting Centres), for a fee. Reputable installers will give you more information on this, including an alternative option to link the alarm to alert mobile telephone numbers selected by you.

Essex Police respond to monitored alarm systems in accordance with guidelines issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) –   Phone 020 7084 8950.   Generally, Non- monitored alarm systems are not responded to unless the person reporting the activation says that an intruder has actually been seen to enter or be on the premises.

The speed of police response cannot be guaranteed. It will depend upon the number, location and availability of police units when the call is received and a police assessment of the threat level.

DIY outlets often sell intruder alarm systems. However, bear in mind that these are normally non-monitored systems. False activations can annoy neighbours and result in action by the Environment department at your local council. If you have one of these systems you need a trusted friend, neighbour, or family member who lives close by and can deal with activations in your absence.

Some systems can be linked to your telephone and programmed to alert specific personal telephone numbers (normally up to 6) if activation occurs.  Your telephone provider may make an extra rental charge for this facility. You will probably still need a trusted local person to respond in your absence.

Some mail order type companies market a whole range of alarms. You can see examples of these on web sites such as: –

(There are other providers).

Generally speaking, any intruder alarm is probably better than none. However, your choice should always be based on the following considerations: –

  • Is it appropriate?
  • Is it realistic?
  • Is it cost effective?
  • What am I trying to protect?

The above information is a basic summary of intruder alarm systems.

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