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Welcome to Issue 97 of the LNWA Newsletter – e-mailed to all 32 Boroughs plus the City to maintain contact. If you’re receiving this for the first time, it’s because you are identified as a contact in your Borough. LNWA is anxious information reaches the grassroots so please ensure all Watch members in your Borough are encouraged to read this Newsletter, also accessible with hyperlinks active via our website, http://www.lnwa.net
EVENT AT CITY HALL – 16 DECEMBER
Many of you will have heard we’re running another event at City Hall during the afternoon of 16 December. Plans have changed from the concept of a workshop in order to revert to our usual format. We’re hoping to have a presenter from MOPAC, one from the Met. and another from SmartWater, along with Jim Maddan who will outline proposals for the future of Neighbourhood Watch. There will, of course, be lots of opportunity to network with other Boroughs. Invitations will be sent when the final programme has been confirmed but the general idea is to invite up to 3 people from each Borough, ideally from the voluntary side, but Police Officers will be welcome if they are trying to promote Neighbourhood Watch in their Borough. Please canvas your Borough contacts and be ready for our invitation.
NEIGHBOURHOOD & HOME WATCH NETWORK (NHWN)
Research undertaken by NHWN has highlighted a gaping home security hole amongst its members – a problem that will be exacerbated amongst the general public. Working alongside its primary security sponsor, Avocet Hardware, NHWN’s research found two thirds of 6,000 respondents did not change their locks when they move home and, of those two thirds, most don’t even consider it.
Chairman, Jim Maddan said: “These figures alone may not seem that surprising but when you consider around 11 per cent of the population moves home in the UK every year and the average Briton moves eight times in their lifetime, it begs the question just how many people could have a key to your new front door? When you take into account the most recent Office for National Statistics crime survey showed 92 per cent of all domestic burglary in a dwelling in England and Wales was committed through the front or back door, it’s obvious everything possible should be being done to secure them.”
The security lapse highlighted by the research not only means two-thirds of NHWN’s members are putting themselves and their possessions in unnecessary danger when they move but they are running the very real risk of having their home insurance negated should a burglar simply unlock their front door and let themselves in.
Clive Lloyd, managing director of Avocet Hardware, said: “Whenever I move home I make sure I change my locks as quickly as possible – the reason being the sheer number of people who’ve had access to my door keys in previous homes. Whether it’s friends or neighbours we’ve given spare keys to while we’re away; workmen we’ve left a key out for; or even our grown-up children who still have their own sets of keys; there’s no escaping the fact a lot of people could still have the key to my old front door when I move. I assume everyone else is in the same boat and so change my locks as soon as I move.”
Close to 40 per cent of those who told NHWN they do change their locks when they move did so for the same reason as Clive, while a further 25 per cent made the decision based on the fact they felt the locks looked inadequate. Only 6.9 per cent of people changed locks in order to upgrade to anti-snap locks – a low figure when you consider over half of those polled had uPVC doors, the standard locks for which led to the development of lock-snapping as a means of forced entry in the first place. The advice is simple – change your locks as soon as you move and rule out at least one horribly easy route into your home.
We’ve heard of several examples this past month of e-mails appearing to be from friends or relatives claiming to be without funds in a foreign Country as the result of a mugging, requesting you send them some cash. Such messages have been around for more than a decade and appear to have be rising in number again. Clearly, none of us would bombard our entire address book contacts with such a request should we ever be unlucky enough for it to happen to us so take great care with such e-mails. Don’t hit “Reply” since the apparent “sender” may hide an alternative e-mail address or be “linked” to a dodgy website. If you feel you need to contact the sender, try telephoning first. If you must e-mail create a new message to advise them you think their e-mail account has been compromised.
That’s it for this month. As usual, LNWA thanks you for your work and support.