In an emergency always call 999. Alternatively in a non-emergency case call 101. You can also report a crime online to the police.
Or crime can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers, at crimestoppers-uk.org or 0800 555 111.
Metropolitan Police - crime prevention: best practice for individuals to follow alongside practical crime prevention methods: from basic hints and tips to more detailed strategies.
Crimestoppers: practical advice and personal safety tips to protect your family, business, home and vehicle.
Neighbourhood Watch: find out about Neigbourhood Watch schemes operating in your neighbourhood, how to start a scheme, resources available for schemes and further crime prevention advice.
Fearless: Fearless is a site where you can access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality. This site provides a safe place to give information about crime - 100% anonymously.
Our top tips for protecting yourself from crime
- Protecting your home from crime
- don’t leave easily accessible doors and windows open, even in warm weather. They are an open invitation for an opportunist thief
- fit appropriate locks to doors and windows
- make sure side gates and rear entrances to your property are shut
- put away ladders or gardening tools that could be used to force entry to your home
- if you live in a flat, make sure the communal door is kept closed
- beware of bogus callers trying to trick their way into your home. Leave your door chain on when talking to strange callers and check their ID cards. If in doubt, refuse them entry
- if you are going on holiday, ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your property and clear your mail. Invest in a timer for your lights to make your home look occupied in your absence.
By taking these simple steps you can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of burglary.
Although the vast majority of people who call at your door will be legitimate, there have been incidents where bogus callers have successfully entered people’s homes under false pretenses and stolen from them.
These criminals are often highly organised, work alone or in pairs, and operate under an array of guises, including:
- utility company personnel
- door-to-door sales people
- care workers and nurses
- builders and gardeners
- council staff
- police officers.
In most cases legitimate callers will carry ID and relevant paperwork. Most will wait patiently and be willing to answer any questions about their visit. It is also good practice among many organisations to ring and make an appointment beforehand rather than turn up at your doorstep unannounced.
1. When someone knocks at the door, stop and think:
- are you expecting anyone?
- if someone is claiming to be from a company remember to ask what it is they are there for.
- always ask for an ID or any associated paperwork – get them to pass these through the letterbox as at this point you should still have your door closed.
- if you have any doubt you should ring the company they say they are from independently. Never ring the number given by the caller but instead locate it from another source, e.g. phonebook or directory enquiries.
2. Take extra measures:
- ensure that your back door is always closed when answering the front door. Callers intent on gaining access to your property may be working in pairs – whilst one distracts you at your front door the other may be trying to enter your property via the back.
- never keep large sums of money in the house – use a bank or building society if possible.
- keep valuables and items of sentimental value where they are not easily accessible – the use of a small safe might be appropriate.
- keep documents containing personal details out of sight, e.g. passport, utility bills, bank statements etc.
- keep your keys in a safe place and not on display.
3. Call the police:
- if you are suspicious or feel that the caller may be bogus.
- if someone forces entry or enters your home without permission.
- if you notice valuables or money have gone missing shortly after someone has visited.
- whenever you think a crime has been, or is about to be, committed.
4. Speak to reliable contacts:
- find a trader and check you can trust them - Citizens Advice
- energy suppliers - call 0800 33 66 99 to set up a personal password system for gas and electricity staff to use when they call to your house.
- water companies - contact them directly with the number on your bill.
- Help keep yourself safe
On an evening out:
- know where you are going and plan your route home afterwards.
- never leave your food or drink unattended.
- keep your personal belongings with you and safe at all times.
- travel in a group wherever possible.
On public transport:
- plan your route home in advance.
- make sure you have your travel pass or tube ticket close to hand.
- stay in well-lit areas when waiting for transport.
- avoid empty carriages at night, and know where the emergency alarms are.
- try to sit near the driver on a bus late at night.
- Taxis and minicabs
Licensed taxis are the only cabs that are legally allowed to apply for hire or be flagged down in the street. You can only hire licensed minicabs by phoning or visiting a registered office. Licensed drivers and firms have been through security checks as a safety precaution for managers and must display their licence prominently. Unlicensed minicabs have not gone through this process. Before getting into an unlicensed minicab, remember that it is nothing more than a stranger with a car and don't put yourself at risk.
Some safety tips:
- carry the number of a local reputable firm.
- share a taxi with a friend where possible. If you are alone, consider sitting in the back.
- when booking a minicab, ask for the name of the driver and the make of car if possible.
- if you are booking a vehicle from a public place, try not to let anyone overhear you giving your personal details.
- check the name of the driver and the firm before you get in - make sure it’s the cab you booked.
- Keeping vehicles safe
Motor vehicle crime
Much motor vehicle crime is preventable. Here are some simple steps to help prevent you becoming a victim:
- lock your vehicle and close your windows each time you leave it
- keep possessions and valuables out of sight (preferably remove from the vehicle entirely)
- never leave your keys in the ignition
- park in a well-lit or overlooked area whenever possible
- never leave your car keys in your hallway where they might be taken through your letterbox.
For tips on how to keep your bike safe check out our bike marking and cycle security webpage.