Scams and how to avoid them

Crime Prevention and how to Keep Safe



It has been said: 'It only takes seconds for someone to steal something of monetary or sentimental value from you but equally, it only takes seconds to make life difficult for thieves and better protect yourself from crime.

It only takes seconds to:

  • Pick up garden tools from your garden or allotment when you’ve finished using them. If you leave them lying around you risk them being stolen or even used to break into your home.
  • Lock your shed and/or garage
  • Security mark valuable items
  • Chain larger, more expensive, items together or connect them to a ground anchor
  • Don’t leave ladders where they can be seen by opportunists and used to break into homes

Since the start of the year Kent Police has distributed more than 1,000 shed alarms and 5000 UV pens to proactively target shed breaks and mark garden equipment.

Officers in some areas will visit second hand dealers and boot fairs in a bid to educate and recover stolen items. Other areas will implement specific “other than dwelling” activity as part of their plans this summer.

The facts

  • There were 6,276 domestic burglaries reported in Kent and Medway in 2012/13
  • There were 7,206 burglaries other than dwelling (BOTD) reported in Kent and Medway in 2012/13
  • This is an increase of 22.1% (+1137 crimes) and 3.6% (+248 crimes) respectively
  • This equates to a rise of 2 burglaries per day over the past two years
  • However, there has been a continuous improvement for each month of the 2013/14 financial year so far
  • Urban areas account for 68% of recorded crimes, rural areas account for 32%
  • Increase in offences is in both urban and rural areas
  • These are sheds, outbuildings and garages
  • Most common items stolen are tools and garden equipment
  • Tools most often stolen are chainsaws (particularly Stihl make) and drills
  • Garden equipment most often stolen are strimmers and hedge trimmers
  • Most offences occur between 23:00 and 05:00
  • A second peak of offences occurs between 11:00 and 16:00. This may be related to when people are out of house.



Telecare gadgets make it easier to perform everyday tasks, as well as keeping you safe and healthy at home. For instance, if you suffer from memory problems, a telecare gadget can remind you to do certain tasks, whether that's an appointment that is booked, or medication that must be taken at specific times, either via a talking device to let you know what needs to be done when, by message on a mobile phone or computer, or a simple alarm to remind you to take medication.

Many older people find a personal alarm helps to ease their worry about their safety. These consist of a button on a pendant or wristband that when pushed, raises an alarm at a response centre so that someone can come to your assistance if you have fallen or are unwell. Some even detect when you have fallen and automatically alert someone, either the response centre directly or a friend, relative or carer.

Similarly, an intruder detector will alert a response centre should there be any movement in your home when you are out or in bed, so that you can rest assured that assistance is on its way.

Even something as simple as bending down to reach sockets can be made easier with telecare, since there are remote control gadgets that allow you to control electrical items within the home without causing you discomfort.

Similar to telecare in that it is designed to allow you to remain living independently in your own home, telehealth gadgets cater for those with long-term health conditions. They can measure signs such as high blood pressure, asthma or breathing difficulties, and send the results directly to your GP, who can monitor the readings and call in if there are any problems. Similarly, diabetics may benefit from a glucose meter that checks the blood sugar levels for danger signs, or a low blood sugar alarm that can alert you if the level drops while you're asleep.

For more information about the types of telehealth technology available, speak to your GP or health visitor about items that may help.

Telecare for family members
Telecare isn't just helpful for older people living alone - it can also give family members peace of mind. For example, an activity monitor will alert a response centre if there has been no movement in a particular room for a long time, letting family members know that their elderly relative is eating regularly, or alert them if you fall and are unable to get up.

For those with relatives who become easily confused or have memory problems, a property exit sensor will send a message to the response centre if someone goes out at odd times of the day or night, and there are even GPS trackers that can let family members know where their relative is should they get lost while out and about. And telephones with large buttons, some with photos alongside the stored numbers of friends and relatives, can help elderly people to stay in touch easily.

  • Getting help
    Telecare and telehealth products are available to buy, but if you or your relative is struggling financially, it is worth talking to the local council about help with payments or even free adaptations if necessary. Social services will usually carry out a care needs assessment to determine whether small adaptations can be provided free of charge. Alternatively, visit the Disabled Living Foundation or speak to your GP or healthcare professional about what products are available, and where you might get help financing the services.