Fall in number of bogus caller crimes

By Mark HeathTHE scourge of bogus callers is being beaten back, thanks in part to the East Anglian Daily Times.Latest figures have revealed the number of distraction burglaries – the official term for thefts committed by bogus callers – across the county has more than halved since 2001, and police are hopeful that fall will continue.

By Mark Heath

THE scourge of bogus callers is being beaten back, thanks in part to the East Anglian Daily Times.

Latest figures have revealed the number of distraction burglaries – the official term for thefts committed by bogus callers – across the county has more than halved since 2001, and police are hopeful that fall will continue.

In the 12-month period up to May 2002, there were 289 bogus caller incidents, which dropped to 123 in the same period up to March 2003.


You may also want to watch:


The reduction is just as startling when the period of May to September 2001, which saw 131 distraction burglaries, is compared to the same period this year, when there were just 64 of these offences committed – a 52% fall.

Bob Taylor, chairman of the Suffolk police Safe and Sound project, which has worked to reduce the problem, said the force was still on track to see a 50% reduction in the crime for the whole year.

Most Read

"We are very pleased. It really has been as a result of everyone working together and I think it has dropped because of increasing awareness among the elderly," he added.

"For example, for the first time this year we partnered trading standards because the perpetrators of distraction burglaries can wear either hat if they wish – such as posing as bogus traders.

"Calls to trading standards have gone up and that's another example of the way in which awareness has increased. There's also been a slight rise in our figures for refusals at the door, which again is a good sign."

The figures comes two months after Colchester pensioner Thelma Avis collapsed and died following a visit from a bogus caller in July.

Following her death, the East Anglian Daily Times relaunched our Safe in Your Home campaign in an effort to highlight the problem of distraction burglaries.

"The EADT has kept the issue continually in people's minds and that's been very beneficial," added Mr Taylor, who works as the police partnership manager in west Suffolk.

"But we are not complacent. We are aware that the trend could creep back up – this is the time of year when we do get a lot of bogus traders and we must all stay vigilant."

Mr Taylor urged people to keep a close eye on elderly neighbours and friends, particularly those at most risk – women aged in their 80s who live alone.

"The impact these crimes have on older people is huge. It's very traumatic and is one of the few crimes where the victims spend some time with the perpetrators," he said.

"There's also the feeling of being very isolated which, through neighbours, we can change. I would like to make a plea for people to be good neighbours and be more aware and supportive. That is the way we can beat it."

mark.heath@eadt.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter