DISTRACTION burglary has been slashed by 76 per cent in the last five years thanks to a campaign to rid the streets of con artists and to raise awareness of the crime.
Cleveland Police said there were 80 distraction burglaries recorded within the force area in 2007/08, compared with 19 in 2011/12.
Cleveland’s Head of Crime the reduction can be attributed to the hard work of detectives working at a grass roots level within local communities and a specialist regional unit named Operation Bombay, which two Cleveland officers are signposted to.
Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Best also praises the work of crime reduction officers and partner agencies who have been raising awareness of the tactics of doorstep conmen to thousands of vulnerable people over the last few years.
He said: “Our teams of detectives are working within communities to bring those responsible to justice. Travelling distraction burglars are cruel, greedy individuals who can be sure that our officers will do everything in their power to stop them from causing misery to people living in the Cleveland area.
“These criminals mainly target the older generation and use a variety of tricks in which to get access into a home. The most common ploy is when a criminal pretends to be from a gas, electricity supplier or the Waterboard and gains access to the home, while their accomplice moves around the house to steal.
“Support agencies and crime reduction officers have been working to educate older people on the ways in which these people work and will always reiterate the message to check the validity of people at their door.”
People are being warned to check the identity of callers by contacting the company they claim to be from, ask a neighbour or friend nearby to check out the caller, keep cash in the bank where it is secure and consider storing valuable jewellery in bank deposit box.
Anyone concerned about distraction burglary should contact Cleveland Police on the non-emergency number 101 or visit www.cleveland.police.uk