Fraud and cyber crime are the key themes in this year’s Neighbourhood and Home Watch Week – a national event which encourages communities to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour by working together and increasing community spirit.
Community-led events have been happening all over Dorset this week and at the weekend there will be a cyber crime awareness day in Bournemouth and Blue Light Day in Shaftesbury, both on 27 June.
Neighbourhood and Home Watch groups work alongside organisations including the police, fire service, local authorities and the Dorset Association of Town and Parish Councils, to make their community a better place and to improve the quality of life for local people.
The police provide tips and tricks on how to bolster home and garden security and advice on personal safety and staying safe online and in the home – focusing on phone and doorstep fraud.
Members of Dorset Watch groups will be joining their fellow countrymen and women from across England and Wales during the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Week.
A total of 173,000 coordinators will be spending the week talking to their neighbours about the dangers of phone scams and cyber crime.
Dorset has lost over £1 million to phone fraudsters since March 2014 but since BT and other operators have shut the lines down, after two seconds of being disconnected, the police have not received any reports.
The message of never giving out bank details over the phone still applies. Criminals are likely to find different ways to scam people, so police will be attending events across the county to give out free, impartial advice on crime prevention and will encourage people to get into the habit of hanging up on fraudsters.
According to Neighbourhood Watch, new research shows that £23.6 million was lost nationally over the course of the year through phone fraud – the most common type of crime of this nature.
Tackling cyber crime is high on the agenda of Dorset Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner and several other agencies and charities.
People can get free advice on cyber crime by visiting www.getsafeonline.org.