26 February 2010

Alternative policing

Sometimes the police need help from the public to know who is responsible for certain crimes. This is where Crimestoppers comes in - by passing information on to the charity anonymously, people can help solve crimes, without having to worry about retaliation from criminals.

In some cases though, police need no help catching crooks - they drop themselves in it instead. For example, in Daytona Beach, Florida some car thieves accidentally rung emergency services while breaking into a car -¡menuda estupidez!- what a stupid thing to do!

While listening to the thieves discussing what items in the car were worth stealing, police were sent to the area where the would-be crooks were promptly arrested.

Policing can't get
much more simple than this now can it. Unfortunately, if law enforcement sat around all day waiting for instances like this, then we would have a lot more crooks walking our streets. So what's the solution? Keep the calls to Crimestoppers coming in and we can fight crime together.

22 February 2010

What are phishing emails?

Although I consider myself to be quite Internet savvy, I still receive emails from time to time that throw me a little. You always hear people warning about phishing emails and saying not to reveal too much about yourself online. But do you know what a phishing email is and how to spot one?

Phishing emails
Phishing emails are emails that pretend to be from a genuine company or organisation and attempt to trick recipients into disclosing their bank account details. Often these emails look very realistic and contain the logo and colour schemes of the company they claim to be from.

As a rule, never tell anyone your bank account details by email.

Some phishing emails will ask you to follow a link and confirm your internet banking login details – never do this. These links might be taking you to a fake website, made to look identical to the site you normally go to for Internet banking. Always type in the regular URL you use to login to your internet banking into the address bar of a new browser window as opposed to following links you receive by email.

Some people that I’ve spoken to who have been victims of phishing scams have said that as well as feeling angry and worried, they felt a little embarrassed to have fallen victim to a scam in the first place. If you think you have been the victim of a scam, don’t be embarrassed – it is not your fault.

Those that run scams are despicable and need to be caught. If you know of anyone involved in criminal activity, including scams, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously through the online form on the charity’s website. If you are worried you might have been a victim of a phishing scam or you want to know more about them, visit the Bank Safe Online website.

18 February 2010

Please rob me

A new website, Please rob me, is highlighting how much information people are unwittingly sharing via social networking websites. Please rob me shows tweets from Twitter in which users are disclosing that they're out of the house. Tweets on the site are updated in real time, demonstrating that every minute people around the world are revealing too much to potential criminals.

While it may seem like a drastic approach, Please rob me is making a valid point - any information posted online is essentially available for the world to see and use. It seems that some people get so caught up in posting and communicating online that they don't think about the potential consequences of their actions. Think twice before posting anything that could leave you vulnerable to crimes including burglary and identity theft.

You wouldn't hang a sign on your door saying you're in Thailand for two weeks, so why would you post this online?

Next time I’m heading out to fight crime, I’ll be sure not to post it on Facebook until after I’ve safely returned home.

17 February 2010

Royal Parks Half Marathon - are you ready?

I've never been very good at keeping New Years resolutions. Every January I make big promises - only drinking sangria on weekends, calling my mama more often etc - but they don't often materialise. This year I thought that if I only chose one resolution then I might find it easier to keep it. After much thought I decided ponerse en forma - to get fit.

Since I left my teenage years I've slowly been developing a bit of a spare tire (or a 'tum' as I prefer it to be known, sounds cuter that way). The Caped Crimestopper (who prides himself on his fitness) suggested I do some running.

I've started slowly - running a mile still makes me puff - but I'm hoping to run the Royal Parks Half Marathon at some point. Royal Parks is a half marathon held in October that takes in scenic parks and sites of London. It's half the distance of the marathon, containing it's best bits.

Crimestoppers has charity places available for this year's Royal Parks Half Marathon. If you think running to a target would work for you, why not sign up? You can email the events team (events@crimestoppers-uk.org) to find out more. If a half marathon is too far (or not far enough!) then never fear, you're able to complete pretty much any event on behalf of Crimestoppers as an own place runner.

If you've got any good fitness tips, let me know! I'm up for the challenge - are you?

15 February 2010

This is abuse - teen domestic violence isn't ok

I was pleased to hear about a new campaign that has been launched to try and wipe out domestic violence amongst teenagers. Being a grandmother to six, I hear my fair share of tales about boyfriends, girlfriends and young love. One thing you never want to hear is that young people are taking each other for granted and not being respectful of one another.

A series of TV ads and a short film have been produced as part of the government's This is abuse campaign. The ads show young people in a variety of settings and explains some aspects of abusive behaviour.

If you're a young person or are close to someone that is, make sure you have a look at the
This is abuse YouTube channel. If you suspect that someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you might find information about Crimestoppers' domestic violence campaign helpful.

Take it from me, your younger years are for having fun so make the most of them while you can!

12 February 2010

Valentine's Day gift ideas

Valentine's Day - it's everywhere. Papers are full of articles about Valentine's Day gift ideas and the ones that aren't contain dating advice for those of us who are single. I'm a pretty creative guy and have had a list of gift ideas ready for this Sunday for quite some time. 

I've been waiting for my Wonder Woman to come along and when she does I'm ready with some great presents and a winning grin. Unfortunately though (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), there's no leading lady in my life just yet. I don't want my gift ideas that I've worked so hard on to go to waste so I thought I'd share them with you.

So if you do have a date for this Sunday and you haven't got them a special something yet, don't worry, the Caped Crimestopper is here to prevent you being put in the dog house.

Home baking - Nothing says 'love' (or lust) like a homemade cake. Unless it's done the right way, cake can be a bit corny though. Ladies, take it from a me - most men don't like things covered in hearts. If I had a date this Valentine's Day, I'd be making them a cake that represents 'us' and what the common things we enjoy, like this Batman cake.

An 'experience' - An outing can be a great gift, mainly because you'll also benefit from it. The only risk here is if you give the object of your desire tickets and then instead of taking you along, they take someone else along instead. Ouch. To prevent this happening, why not meet up with your valentine on Sunday and take them with you to somewhere romantic, like the crime museum.

Novelty value - Depending on your partner, a novelty gift could also be a hit. My personal favourite is the classic fluffy handcuffs. They may not scream class but they do show an interest in law enforcement in a way that only a trip to crime museum could otherwise.

What are you doing for Valentine's Day? Let me know if you've got any gift ideas that should be added to my list for next year.

11 February 2010

Police sniffer dogs - don't kiss them

When I see police sniffer dogs, I sometimes feel an urge to pat them. I never have patted one though; as a superhero I try to work with law enforcement as opposed to annoying them. Bravo for my will power!

One man in Australia didn't display such tact; the man was drinking at the Mean Fiddler pub in Rouse Hill, outer Sydney, when he decided to try to pat and kiss a police dog that accompanied officers into the venue. The man became aggressive after refusing requests from the police to leave the dog, Bodie, alone. Officers eventually subdued the man with capsicum spray and later arrested him.

Now, I was quite surprised that a man could be arrested for kissing a dog.

When interviewed about the incident by a local paper, Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Murray said: "The police dog is considered to be part of the policing contingent and the same security measures are taken as if it was a police officer."

There you go, lesson learnt. I'll definitely stick to eyeing off only my bag and not the hounds when I'm at airport carousels in the future!

8 February 2010

Did you know?

Telling people I'm a superhero for Crimestoppers tends to prompt a lot of questions. At first people want to know if that's how I keep my body in such great shape. Once I've answered that (and it can take hours of explaining, believe me!) people are keen to know about Crimestoppers and what the charity does.

It's been a bit too cold and miserable lately to be outside much so I've decided to do a bit of DYK (standing for 'did you know') instead of DIY. Below are the three questions that I most commonly get asked by people about Crimestoppers. Read up and get informed. You never know, this information might just win you a pub quiz one day.

1. Is Crimestoppers is the only organisation in the United Kingdom that allows members of the public to anonymously pass on information about crime?
Yes, Crimestoppers is the only organisation in the UK that allows people to anonymous pass on information about crime. You can pass on information to Crimestoppers by calling us on 0800 555 111, filling out our anonymous online form or texting 88551 with information about knife crime.

2. What does it mean when you say the service is anonymous?
Crimestoppers is anonymous because your name and identity isn't known by us or made public. Calls and online forms are not traced and no personal details (not even gender) about those who contact us are taken down. Find out more about Crimestoppers and anonymity.

3. What happens if I call Crimestoppers?
Why not watch the short video below about calling Crimestoppers if you want to know more about how calls are taken?

If you've got any questions about Crimestoppers and the work we do, get in touch.

4 February 2010

Don't follow Paris Hilton's example and leave keys under the mat

I don't claim to be an expert when it comes to crime prevention advice. I've even made a few rookie errors in my time (like leaving my Christmas shopping in the Caped Crimestopper's car!) That said, I'm proud to say I've never committed the ultimate security no no - leaving keys under the mat.

"What?" I hear you say, "surely no one would be silly enough to leave their house key under the mat?"

Yes, dear readers, it seems some people are that silly. And by 'some people', I am referring to one person in particular - Paris Hilton. Paris was burgled by the Bling Ring Gang, a group that has stolen from numerous celebrity houses in Hollywood.

Former actor Nick Prugo, a member of the Bling Ring Gang who pleaded guilty to his role in the break-ins, has been quoted as saying: "Like, who would leave a door unlocked? Who would leave a lot of money lying around?"

Although Mr Prugo does have a point, people should always keep their doors and windows locked and their keys on them, nobody deserves to be burgled. I'm not really sure what Paris is famous for (I'm not sure if anyone really is) but I'm sure it didn't warrant this.

According to my grand kids, there's lots of young people out there who want to be like Paris Hilton; well here's my tip, dye your hair blonde and dress your pets in costumes if you want to, but never leave your key under your door mat.

1 February 2010

Most wanted distraction burglars arrested

Granny Robyn told us the other week all about the new distraction burglary campaign Crimestoppers is running. A list of ten Most Wanted distraction burglars was announced and already two of the top ten have been arrested.

A third known distraction burglar (who was not on the top ten list) arrested by police was found to have a copy of The Sun's top ten distraction burglars article in his pocket! Good to see distraction burglars are realising that we won't put up with their vile actions.

While the recent arrests are great news, we still have work to do as eight of the top ten are still at large. Make sure you check out Crimestoppers' Most Wanted website so you can see if you know where any of these door step criminals are.