Anyone working within the Crime Prevention arena will know the problem we all face regarding Doorstep Crime. To start with there is no standard definition of the subject, no actual crime of Doorstep Crime, which makes it extremely difficult to give any accuracy to any offence figures surrounding this subject. Traditionally Doorstep Crime covers the area of Criminal (Rogue) Traders, Unscrupulous Sales People, Distraction Burglary and Bogus Callers, which again break down into separate crime recording codes. A minefield! And without associated figures, to allocate resources to deal with the ‘one off’ crime that occurs in a particular area, police organisations struggle to identify and bring to justice these criminals who quickly move on over the border to the next victim.
We advocate EDUCATION as being key to PREVENTION and as such the below pages will endeavour to help you understand how Doorstep Criminals work, how they prey on those most at risk within our communities using grooming techniques, how they trade victims and how you can make a difference in helping to keep those at risk, safe.
Criminal (Rogue) Traders are fraudsters pretending to be builders, gardeners, salesmen or other tradespeople trying to convince you that you require urgent maintenance to your house or garden. They will cold call and try to pressurise you into a quick decision to allow work to be carried out for a ‘special cash price’. Offering to carry out repairs to the house, such as roofing, guttering or damp proofing. They will strike up conversations with the householder to go one of two ways; with intimidation or aggressive behaviour to frighten them into having the work done “If those tiles fall off and kills someone”; or to befriend them into believing they are there to genuinely help, with elements of grooming the victim taking place. The offer of work will also cover driveway tarmac/resurfacing, power washing or any gardening job from grass cutting, hedge trimming to fence erecting.
Burglars don’t even go to the trouble of breaking into your home if they think they can knock on the door and get invited in! Distraction Burglars normally work in pairs and whilst one distracts the householder the other will sneak in and complete a quick search taking anything of value they come across. These criminals will use any excuse to gain entry, often pretending to be an official from a utility company, social services, trading standards or police.
You may know this group as ‘the duster sellers’. They are normally young lads that turn up on your doorstep with a huge black holdall full of cleaning products ranging from tea towels, dishcloths and dusters to sprays, polishes and even small clothing items. Initially they all came from the Nottingham area, obtaining their goods from a warehouse at Clifton just outside of Nottingham and they then come ‘knocking’ on your door to trade, hence the term ‘Nottingham Knockers’. Unfortunately, not only are they after selling you poor quality items at highly inflated prices they are also checking out suitable targets for details to be sold onwards to professional burglars.
Durham Fish Sellers
As the term suggests these conmen originate from Durham and the surrounding area. They make a huge profit from selling what is essentially black market fish or items that otherwise would have been thrown back into the sea, being wrong species or too small to be landed. Whilst there are many legitimate fish sellers trading in our communities unfortunately it is not uncommon to receive a visit from these traders trying to sell you quantities of fish that has no proper packaging, no species or date information and may not have been transported in a refrigerated vehicle, even though it has travelled all the way from the north of the country.