THE Police Service of Northern Ireland is reminding people to be extra vigilant following a number of rogue traders reported in recent weeks.
Detective Superintendent Rachel Shields said: “The public play a crucial role in helping us investigate and stop this type of crime. I would urge everyone to report any suspicious activity of strangers offering unsolicited services or trying to gain access to homes. The sooner you contact us, even if it is on the behalf of others, the better our chances are of catching a potential criminal.
“If any callers claim to be from a water, gas or electricity company, you can check if they are genuine by calling the Quick Check scheme on the Police non-emergency number 101. A trained police operator will liaise with the stated company and check if the caller is a legitimate member of staff. If not, the operator will send the Police directly to you.
“Neighbourhood Watch is an initiative which aims to help protect people and their property by initiating security measures to reduce the likelihood of crime in your area. Through improved home security and greater vigilance, community spirit will flourish and no one will have to feel vulnerable or isolated where they live.
Detective Superintendent Shields continued: “Together we can ensure that the people we care about most feel safe and confident in their own homes and know who to contact for help and support. Never feel embarrassed to inconvenience a cold caller by asking for their ID or asking them to wait outside while you make a call. If they are legitimate, they will not mind. I would also like to remind people to never leave doors unlocked and do not leave keys in an unsafe place (such as under doormats or flower pots).
Follow this advice when answering the door:
* Before answering the front door, make sure the back door is locked.
* If you have a door chain, remember to use it before opening the door. If not, we recommend you get one installed.
* Ask the caller for their identification and check it carefully.
* Ask them to wait outside and close the door - genuine callers will not mind.
* Ring Quick Check on 101. The call will be answered personally and promptly by a trained police call handler. They will check with the company that the person at the door is genuine. If they are not or they think that there is something suspicious, the operator will be able send the police to you.
* Do not let anyone into the property until you are satisfied as to who they are contact for help and support.
For more information on Neighbourhood Watch please log onto - https://www.psni.police.uk/my-area/neighbourhood-watch/