West Midlands Police are one of the first forces in the country to fully embrace a new code of practice aimed at slamming the door in the face of thieves trying to sell stolen goods.
A Home Office Code of Practice encourages forces to get second hand stores signed up to a scheme where they check all items offered up for sale against the CheckMEND database which logs if goods have been recorded as lost or stolen.
The force have hundreds of stores such as Cash Converters, Cash Generator, Cex and other independent second hand stores signed up to the scheme and are launching it in style on 23 January with an Impact Activation Day.
On the day officers across the force will be at second hand stores, schools and shopping centres registering goods onto the immobilise database for free.
Each of the stores who have signed up check items offered for sale against the CheckMEND site. Each search generates a unique certificate number. This can be issued to a potential buyer to prove that at the time of purchase the item was not reported lost or stolen and no adverse information was recorded against it.
David Bursey from Byte size Solutions in Kings Heath, Birmingham said:
Now we can use CheckMEND we can buy items from people who come in off the street. We have been dubious about doing that in the past because we have not been able to trace the history of the item. This has opened up new possibilities in how we can conduct our business that is of real benefit to us and our customers.
DC Vanessa Lewis from Force CID who is heading up the project to get all West Midlands second hand stores signed up said:
Our officers have been passionate about getting stores signed up as one of the main ways we can stop the sale of stolen goods and ultimately deter burglars and thieves.
The more the public register their goods on immobilise, the more effective the system will be.
Residents in East Lancashire are being advised to take a few simple crime prevention measures to avoid being targeted by thieves.
Officers are encouraging people to register their phones, gadgets and other expensive items on a property database, such as immobilise.com to deter thieves and increase the chances of getting any stolen items returned.
PCSO Alex Catterall said:
Valuables left near windows can prove tempting for criminals and unlocked doors and windows make it easier for them to come in and steal your possessions.
Keeping things out of sight and locking up when you go to bed or leave home can prevent your home being broken in to.
However, if you are targeted by criminals, listing your new phones, gadgets and other presents, including bikes, on a property register database, such as immobilise.com can greatly increase the chances of getting the items returned to you. This is a free service and only takes a few minutes of your time.
When we seize suspected stolen property we can use the database to try and reunite it with its original owner. Second hand shops can also use a sister site to check whether an item is stolen when it is offered to them.
Gazelle, one of the USA’s leading high-end consumer trade-in sites, today announced it has deployed CheckMEND, a cutting-edge tool, designed to more accurately detect potentially stolen goods, including smart phones, tablets and computers.
Developed by Recipero, CheckMEND is the largest World’s largest consumer electronics background report service, the system compiles data from all major wireless carriers and law enforcement entities across the USA, providing the most complete database of devices available. Gazelle is the first consumer electronics trade-in site to deploy CheckMEND and collaborated with Recipero to tailor the product to help address the growing incidences of consumer electronics theft.
For Gazelle the introduction of CheckMEND comes at a good time with the proliferation of high-end consumer electronics theft. In fact, New York City’s police commissioner recently reported that Apple products now represent more than 40 percent of stolen property in the city and San Francisco police report that nearly half of all robberies in the city in the past year have been cell phone related.
We are dedicated to providing the best customer experience possible, and part of that promise is to protect each customer’s personal data
said Israel Ganot, CEO, Gazelle.
We always take security very seriously. With the CheckMEND deployment, we’re taking this to a new level, committing not only to the protection of a customer’s personal data when we receive the device, but also going the extra mile to ensure that any devices we accept are being sold by the rightful owner and to discourage and prevent theft of consumer electronics.
Recipero’s CheckMEND service makes it possible to do a more thorough screening by checking a vast set of carrier and law enforcement sources for a much broader set of consumer electronics. CheckMEND is capable of comparing each inquiry against more than 150 billion records of information, including more than 50 billion items.
For more information please visit the following websites.
Avon & Somerset Police are offering students advice on how to deter thieves this week as part of Operation Relentless, keeping you safe.
On Sunday September 16 2012 3,000 students arriving at the University of the West of England were given advice on keeping themselves and their property safe by university-based PC Matt Holloway.
For the rest of the week, PC Holloway will be giving students the chance to register their laptops, phones, bikes and other valuables on www.immobilise.com as part of Relentless, keeping you safe.
Neighbourhood Inspector Bob Evely said:
Registering your property for free on the immobilise website, along with marking it with your postcode, is known to deter thieves. They know that we will be able to prove the item has been stolen and identify the rightful owner. UWE students wanting help with registering their property can contact PC Holloway at the police post at the university. Of course nothing beats making sure you lock your doors and windows and never leaving your laptop or other valuables on display in your car.
Avon & Somerset Police also recommend installing security software on phones and computers which can help trace your property if it is stolen. For more security advice visit their website, www.avonandsomerset.police.uk
An initiative which is aimed at helping to reunite owners with lost or stolen property is to be launched in Bangor.
The Immobilise register is an online tool where people can register items such as mobile phones free of charge. Once an item has been registered, officers can access the database to trace the owners of any property they may recover.
Other valuable items such as iPads, laptops, iPods, game consoles, cameras and satellite navigation systems can also be registered with Immobilise.
The free Immobilise property registration service is a very powerful tool in the fight against crime,
said Chief Inspector Andrew Williams from North Wales Police.
We are urging people to register their property, in particular items such as mobile phones onto the Immobilise database. It only takes a few minutes and if your property is stolen and later recovered, there is a greater chance of it being returned.
The more people that register their phones on the Immobilise website, the better chance we have of tracking down criminals and returning stolen property back to its rightful owner.
Immobilise has been used by different police forces all over the country and has proved to be a popular tool in deterring crime.
Many stores in Bangor are supportive of the scheme including Tesco, Currys/PC World, Argos, Phones 4U, Get Connected, Orange, Carphone Warehouse, Three and Mobilia. They have all agreed to distribute Immobilise leaflets to anybody purchasing a mobile phone from their stores.
Chief Inspector Williams added:
We are very grateful to the stores for supporting us with promoting this initiative. Together, we can take positive steps to deter the buying and selling of stolen goods.
Register your property free at Immobilise and improve your chances of getting it back if it’s ever lost or stolen.
Never leave your phone on display in your car – this will tempt a criminal
Keep your phone on you, not near you. Never leave your phone on tables or bars in pubs and restaurants
Thieves are opportunists – don’t make yourself an easy target by showing off the handset you’re carrying around
Keep details such as the make, model and unique identification number (IMEI number) of your handset. This can be found behind the battery, or by dialling *#06#
As part of the launch of Mayor Boris Johnson’s YOU Matter (Youth Organisations in Uniform) programme, the Mayor has become a member of the Immobilise National Property Register with the aid of the Merton Volunteer Police Cadets.
Volunteer Police Cadets demonstrated Merton Police’s latest crime fighting kit, a laptop and scanner provided by the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU), which uploads mobile phone IMEI numbers to the secure crime prevention web site at immobilise.com.
I would say to any young person, come on and give it a go!
Using the Mayor’s own phone, the Cadets explained how police use the unique IMEI number to identify stolen mobile phones and arrest offenders, whilst registering his handset on the free property protection database.
In plans outlined by the Mayor today, thousands of youngsters will have the opportunity to join uniformed groups like the Volunteer Police Cadets, Guides, Scouts and Armed Forces Cadets. The £1.3 million programme, being run by the Safer London Foundation, will help young people develop vital skills and instil discipline and responsibility in young people, particularly those who are or at risk of being excluded from education, training or employment.
The initiative is part of Team London, the Mayor’s strategy to harness volunteers to deliver key projects to improve the quality of life and opportunities of Londoners.
Speaking at the Merton Sea Cadets Centre for the launch, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:
Uniformed groups are a fantastic way for youngsters to get involved in a myriad of activities, which will help equip them with the skills they need to succeed in life. It’s a modern tragedy that so many of our young people are struggling to get a foothold in the jobs market and are drifting into crime. By instilling self reliance, discipline and a sense of competition, young people can aspire to a better future.
The recommendation, published on the South Yorkshire Police website says, Police are urging people to log their expensive property and any other precious belongings on immobilise.com – the world’s largest FREE register of ownership details.
In addition to acting as a major deterrent to criminals, the big difference with Immobilise is that as well as getting your stuff back if it’s lost or stolen, the system helps to catch the thieves as well!
The database is linked directly to police systems, so when officers recover any property, for whatever reason, they can check it against items logged on Immobilise. For example, if someone arrested on suspicion of drunk and disorderly has your stolen mobile phone in their pocket, police will also be able to link the theft to them as well – but only if it’s registered!
Any item can be registered on Immobilise. The easiest items to log are electricals, or anything that has a serial number, but you can even log jewellery or ornamental items using the photo upload and description functions.
You can register as many items as you like, and then if they are lost or stolen you simply log back on to register them as such. The police can check any property they recover, whether that’s when a person is brought into custody for any reason, property recovered from criminals in raids, or even during one of their now routine checks on second-hand dealers. And if they find anything that is listed as stolen, not only will you get your belongings back, but the thieves can be brought to justice.
We want to send a clear message to those potential thieves that anything logged on Immobilise is too hot to handle. As a member of the South Yorkshire public, by registering your property, and marking it as such, you are much less likely to become a victim of crime.
Earlier in the month, the county saw a number of thefts of mobile phones from cafes, restaurants and bars where people were distracted by an offender who then took their phone.
Whilst these incidents have reduced, there are still a number of mobile phone thefts across Hertfordshire and police are reminding the public of three key things to keep in mind:
Register your phone for free onwww.immobilise.com It could help your phone to be returned to you if it gets lost or stolen.
Keep your phone safe Don’t leave it in your car, in an open handbag or pocket and never leave it unattended in a public place, even for a second.
If it gets stolen, block it immediately If you are unlucky enough to have your phone stolen, let your phone operator know immediately and they can block the phone so that a thief can’t use it – and also report it to police.
Unfortunately some people are tempted to report their mobile as stolen when they know they have lost it instead – false reporting is a crime. This is an offence and, where there is evidence, police will prosecute. Prior to reporting your mobile as stolen to police, you will be asked to make a declaration that you understand the consequences of making a false claim.
Posters with the numbers of mobile phone operators are now displayed in most station receptions and are available on the police website – search for ‘mobile phone security’.
If you report your phone as stolen to the police, officers need the serial number, known as the IMEI number, of your handset to be able to fully investigate the offence.
The IMEI is a unique 15 digit number assigned to the handset at the point of manufacture. It will be placed on a national database to which all UK police have access. If you don’t have IMEI number to hand, it will be on the box the phone came in or you can obtain it from your network operator. The best way is to register it for free on www.immobilise.com, that way you have an online record of number and police can return it to you if it gets lost or stolen.
You must also ask your operator for the handset and SIM card to be blocked so they don’t work any more.
Harrogate police are urging residents to ‘lock it or lose it’ after a recent increase in the number of burglaries and car break-ins.
Officers believe that the rise can be combated with the help of the community who can help reduce further offences by taking preventative security measures.
Although the district has enjoyed falling figures in crimes such as robbery, sexual offences and thefts from outbuildings, burglary and theft from vehicles remains an issue which officers are keen to stamp out.
Sergeant Geoff Crocker, of Harrogate Safer Neighbourhood Team, said:
Harrogate is one of the safest towns in the safest county in the country, however some people’s complacency over crime prevention is making life easy for criminals.
We have to act now to ensure that offenders don’t have it their own way. Make life difficult for them, most thieves are opportunistic – if they see an unsecured door or window they will be in.
What they don’t like is a challenge, it is vital that people take the proper security measures to ensure that their houses or cars are as difficult as possible to get into.
Over half of burglaries occur at properties that have been left insecure and these offences could have easily been prevented by closing windows and locking doors.
Sgt Crocker also pointed out that burglaries where offenders force entry to a property are almost exclusively committed at homes which don’t have burglar alarms fitted. He added:
While investigating a recent burglary, I noticed that the offenders had climbed over several garden fences of neighbouring properties to get to the house. All the surrounding properties had burglar alarms, the house that was burgled did not.
Laptops, jewellery and car keys were stolen from the house and Sgt Crocker is urging residents to consider the loss of possessions and inconvenience against the cost of having adequate security measures installed.
Thefts from unattended vehicles have also gone up in Harrogate, mainly because many people are still leaving their cars unlocked.
Laptops, iPhones, Blackberrys and wallets have all been stolen from insecure vehicles recently, in thefts that could have been easily prevented by locking the door and removing valuable items from view. Sgt Crocker said:
The lack of security awareness shown by some motorists is staggering, the vast majority of thefts from vehicles have come as a result of the car being left unlocked.
Thieves are simply walking along the road or up driveways looking for vehicles that have been left insecure.
We really need to get the message across: lock your car, remove all valuable property and leave nothing on view.
Police are urging the residents of Harrogate to work with them to make life tough for criminals and help reduce the number of burglaries and thefts occurring in the town.
Local Safer Neighbourhood officers are always happy to give crime prevention advice and everyone can do their bit to ensure their homes and cars are secure.
Sgt Crocker added:
We need to ensure firstly that thieves aren’t getting an easy steal and secondly that they have an increased risk of getting caught.
The first part of this has to come from the community by observing basic security procedures including using locks that they already have.
The second part is down to the police, to relentlessly pursue criminals, put them before the courts and continue to reduce crime in Harrogate District.
Sgt Crocker has offered his top 10 crime prevention tips to residents wishing to guard against burglary and theft:
Remove all valuables from your vehicle and ensure it is locked.
Keep keys in a safe place, out of reach of doors and windows.
Get a burglar alarm fitted preferably from a SSAIB or NSI approved company.
Part set your alarm before going to bed.
Photograph expensive jewellery, mark it with Smartwater and keep it in a safe.
Photograph and mark expensive antiques and pictures.
Create an immobilise account at www.immobilise.com and record your possessions on the database.
Join your local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
Check your door lock. If it does not show kite mark BS3621, contact the police, a locksmith or your NHW coordinator.
The Immobilise National Property Register is Website of the day on Pocket-lint, the UK’s largest independent gadget news and reviews site.
The article by Ian Hugh’s writing for Pocket-lint follows and further emphasises the advantages of using the Immobilise service.
Stuff. We love it, you love it. In fact, we just can’t get enough of it. Pocket-Lint probably wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for our love of stuff, so when some thieving little scrote decides to shimmy up your drainpipe and help himself to some of your stuff, it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth.
There are a few things you can do to protect your prized possessions: burglar alarms, decent locks, a starved Rottweiler chained to your 50-inch plasma. But one of the simplest things you can do is to make your stuff less desirable.
We’re not talking about gouging a four-inch scratch across your iPad screen either. What we mean is by registering all your gadgets and gizmos at immobilise, you stand half a chance of getting your stuff back if it does get lifted. More importantly, put a sticker in your window and the shifty little toe-rags will probably give your place a miss anyway – if they get caught with stuff registered on this site, they’re almost certainly looking forward to a long holiday in a very small room with a large sweaty man called Bubba.
Get registered and get your stuff protected at www.immobilise.com. You know it makes sense.