Doorstep crime can take a number of forms but is carried out by criminals who deliberately target the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Distraction burglaries involve criminals posing as genuine callers – frequently they will claim to be an official from a utility company, such as water, electricity or gas –to gain entry into a person's home. Once inside, one of the callers distracts the homeowner, while another searches for money and valuable items to steal.
A variation of distraction burglary involves criminals posing as reputable tradespeople who offer to undertake repair work on a person's property. They do the work badly - if at all - and put people under extreme pressure to pay.
Who Are The Victims?
Anyone can be the victim of a distraction crime but older, vulnerable people are at most risk. Research shows that:
- 67% of victims are female
- 74% of victims live alone
- The average victim is 80 years old
Fortunately the majority of people, after the initial shock of the crime, make a full recovery. For a small minority, the most vulnerable, the consequences can be very serious and long term.
What Are the Police Doing?
To help combat doorstep crime — and in particular distraction burglaries — West Mercia Police has launched the Knock Knock campaign. This aims to provide simple advice to householders and encourages neighbours to look out for each other to help make life difficult for doorstep criminals.
West Mercia Police is committed to reducing the number of distraction burglaries and rogue callers. We work closely with trading standards officers from local authorities and utility companies to bring offenders to justice with joint enforcement and crime prevention initiatives.
You can find out more on our Knock Knock campaign page.
What You Can Do?
Find out more information about how you can protect yourself and what to look out for by clicking the links below. You can also contact your local crime risk manager for more advice.