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Alert message sent 11/07/2021 17:32:00

Information sent on behalf of Neighbourhood Watch

This weekly newsletter is compiled by Maggie Lewis, Area Representative and Administrator for Oxford Neighbourhood Watch. The items are taken from websites, social media, articles, emails and conversations. Contributions will be gratefully received and added.  Please feel free to share.If you have any comments/information to post or wish to unsubscribe please use reply icon at bottom of Alert. 
1) Thames Valley Police- Central Oxford, and  North Oxford
2) Scams- 'it will never happen to me' ; SERS figures: how to spot a scam
3) Neighbourhood Watch - Take Five campaign -five steps to stop  scams
4) Crime Prevention-distraction burglary and prevention; keeping burglars out of your property
5) Missing cats- a personal guide for all

TVP Oxford (Central Oxford)
Thames Valley Police has arrested four men as part of an investigation into the death of a man in Oxford.
On Friday 11 June, a report of assault was made to the force, which took place at approximately 10.50pm in Ship Street in the centre of Oxford.
A 63-year-old man was assaulted, causing him to fall to the floor and lose consciousness. It is believed he was hit once to the head. No weapons are believed to have been involved.
Officers and paramedics attended the scene shortly after, and the victim was taken to hospital, by which point he had regained consciousness and was communicating with officers and ambulance staff.
However, tragically on 19 June the victim passed away in hospital.
A Home Office post mortem took place on Friday 25 June, and the cause of death at present is unascertained and pending further investigation.
The victim’s next of kin have been informed and are being closely supported by specially trained officers.
Detectives have since been investigating the circumstances of the incident and the man’s death, and as such these arrests have been made.
Today (8/7) four men were arrested in connection with the incident on 11 June.
One aged 18 and two aged 21, all from West Oxfordshire, and a 20-year-old from Cherwell were all arrested on suspicion of murder. They are currently in police custody.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Mike Roddy, of the Major Crime Unit, said: “Since this incident happened, and the subsequent death of this man, detectives have been investigating the circumstances of what took place on 11 June, and are exploring all possibilities of how he came to his tragic death.
“Our investigation so far has led detectives to make these arrests, while enquiries will continue.
“However I would like to appeal for any potential witnesses to this incident of assault that took place on 11 June in Oxford.
“Specifically, I would ask that anyone who believes that they were in or near Ship Street or Cornmarket Street on this night, please think about whether you may have seen anything that could relate to this incident.
“It took place at 10.50pm, but I would be interested to hear from anyone who believes they may have seen or heard something before or after this time too. No matter how insignificant you think any information may be, I’d encourage you to get in contact with us as it could prove to be vital in this investigation. 
“This happened on a Friday evening, with a number of people in central Oxford that will have been coming and going in this specific area. I therefore believe it more likely that there could be witnesses to this incident.
“Anyone with information is asked to please make a report to police, either by doing so online or calling 101. Please quote reference number INC-20210707-1280 when doing so. Alternatively, you can report via the Major Incident Police Portal
“You can also call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, if you wish to make a report with 100% anonymous

TVP (North Oxford)
Police patrols increased after Port Meadow rave
North Oxford Neighbourhood Team has been conducting reassurance patrols in and around Port Meadow and Burgess Field on Friday evening (9/7) following on from a rave last week.
Officers confirmed the checks will continue throughout the weekend.
In recent months, Port Meadow has been under the spotlight after the popular green patch was left strewn with rubbish by hundreds of visitors on a number of occasions.
Warm weather and the relaxation of lockdown restrictions has meant that huge crowds gather at the park, leaving wine bottles and drinks cans scattered across the grass.

Jail for men who farmed cannabis in Oxford home (Westbury Crescent)

A drugs gang converted a rented house into a commercial-scale cannabis factory.
The elderly homeowner’s son discovered the semi-detached home had been turned over to producing the class B drug after going round to pick up a trailer last month, Oxford Crown Court heard.
Now, two men caught in the Oxford property by Thames Valley Police have been jailed for their part in the commercial-scale drugs enterprise.
Sending Xhunjor Abazi to prison for 32 months and jailing co-defendant Taulant Kaca for three years, Judge Michael Gledhill QC said: “I accept that you two men had been brought into run the operation on a day to day basis.
“Your counsel says you were in effect gardeners; it was rather more than that because I am satisfied that you were involved in what was happening in the loft; preparing and packaging the drugs.

SCAMS (Please read)
Someone told me this week  that scams are only for vulnerable and elderly and he thought avoiding them was down to 'common sense.' Having attended a webinar - 'Getting Safer Online' and a live Q&A on scams by Which magazine the message is clear - none of us can be complacent about scams.
Please remember if one person falls for a scam then it is a good day for the scammer - they may have 50, 100, 250 calls that day and this is their business - there is no empathy for the victim and whatever, you do won't deter them so best to put phone down. We can be very smug that we will never be caught but anyone and everyone can be caught. It will be something we want to hear and it may be an 'off' day but we can all be caught by clicking on the link.
The best deterrent for any crime is the fear of getting caught but scams are cross border and, therefore, cannot be traced. Lots of data and reports are needed to get information to catch the scammers. Unfortunately, sentences are often low and again the risk and reward is worth it. 
Surprising Facts
Citizens Advice research found that while scammers are most likely to target over 55s, under 34s are almost five times more likely to fall victim.
This is for a couple of reasons; younger people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, they’re more likely to have lost jobs and be behind on their bills. Scammers prey on this vulnerability.
⁠Younger people also spend more time online – giving scammers more opportunities to trick them, while many have a false confidence when it comes to staying safe. Younger people often think they’d never fall for a scam, and that they’d know how to spot one – but our data suggests this isn’t true.
I would ask you to have a look at these websites - there are numerous social media platforms to get information as well

Suspicious Email Reporting Service (important notice)
Please report only emails from your inbox NOT spam to - ...they will be informing people of this soon

Numbers of email scams -April 2020-June 2021
As of 30th June 2021 the number of reports received stand at more than 6,500,000 with the removal of more than 50,500 scams and 97,500 URLs.

How to spot a scam
Have you been contacted out of the blue?
Cold calls or unexpected emails or messages should raise suspicion, especially if you’re asked to give personal or payment details.
It’s very unusual for legitimate organisations to contact you and ask for sensitive information if you’re not expecting them to.
If you're not 100% convinced about the identity of the caller, hang up and contact the company directly.
Have you been asked to share personal details?
Never share your personal details with anyone if you can't confirm they are who they say they are.
Phone scammers will often try and get valuable personal data from you, and they can use this to steal your money, or even to use your identity to use fraudulently.
Are the contact details vague?
Scam websites often Vague contact details can be a PO box, premium rate number (starting ‘09’) or a mobile number.
If anything goes wrong it's important you can contact those involved. This will be difficult if you don't have accurate contact information.
Premium rate numbers are also a favoured trick for squeezing every penny they can out of you.
Are you being asked to keep it secret?
It's important you can discuss any agreements with your friends, family or advisors.
Asking you to keep quiet is a way to keep you away from the advice and support you need in making a decision
Is the offer too good to be true?
Scams will often promise high returns for very little financial commitment. They may even say that a deal is too good to miss.
Use your common sense, if a deal is too good to be true, it inevitably is.
Are you being pressured to make a decision?
Fraudsters often try to hurry your decision making. Don’t let anyone make you feel under pressure - it’s OK to take a break and think things through if you’re not sure.
Sales staff should always give you time and space to make an informed decision, anyone who tries to rush you should not be trusted.
Are there spelling and grammar mistakes?
Emails or messages littered with spelling and grammar mistakes are a scam giveaway. Legitimate organisations will rarely, if ever, make spelling or grammatical mistakes in their emails to you because they’ve been put together by professionals and checked before they’re sent.

SCAM WARNING: We’ve received over 2,000 reports about scam calls that appear to come from a number that’s similar to the victim’s own mobile number.
More info here:

Take these five steps in order to stop scams
Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full password – it’s never okay to reveal these details.
Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine – people aren’t always who they say they are.
Don’t be rushed – a genuine bank or organisation won’t mind waiting to give you time to stop and think.
Listen to your instincts – if something feels wrong then it is usually right to pause and question it.
Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for information.

General Crime Prevention Tips
Distraction Burglaries and how to prevent them
Distraction burglars pretend to be someone they are not in order to gain entry to your home.
Common methods used by distraction burglars pretending to be from a care agency, the council or a utility company investigating a gas or water leak
Seeking help to leave a note for a neighbour or even asking for a drink of water if they claim to be thirsty or unwell
Claiming to be in a hurry or emergency and needing to get into your home quickly
working in teams, with one person distracting you while the other searches your home
How to prevent it
There are a number of things you can do to prevent distraction burglary. Always remember "if in doubt, keep them out":
Use your door viewer to see who’s there
If you open the door put the chain on first
Always ask for ID and check it with the company before letting somebody into your home
Use the phone number advertised in the phone book or online, as the number on their identity card could be fake. For a utility company, call the customer service department.
Close the door while you do this
Remember that genuine callers won’t mind checks.
If you feel at all unsure, schedule a time for the caller to come back when a friend or relative is there for pre-planned appointments with utility companies, a password scheme can be set up
If you feel threatened or in danger by the presence of the caller, call 999.
Keep burglars out of your property

You’d think that it would be best to make a property less visible from the street, and to keep it hidden from prying eyes behind overgrown bushes, trees, high fences or walls. In reality, all that this serves to do is make it easier for a burglar to get close to a home unnoticed, and provide somewhere to hide while carrying out a burglary or theft from the property.

Lower fences at the front around one-metre high are preferable to high fences as they allow for a clear view over the top and don’t provide cover for anyone wishing to hide.
At the rear and sides, taller fencing is recommended to prevent easy access.
Trellis, thorny plants, or a suitable anti-climb topping such as plastic spikes make it difficult for anyone climbing over a fence or gate.
Planting prickly or barbed shrubbery along boundaries and fence lines acts as an effective natural barrier.
Gravel driveways and paths will make sure you hear anyone approach.
Going away?
Here are five tips to help you keep your home and belongings stay safe while you’re away:
if you’re off on holiday and wish to post anything on social media, make sure your posts aren’t public and that they’re only seen by your friends
leave lights and a radio on a timer to make the property appear occupied
get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property or join a Neighbourhood or resident Watch Scheme
consider asking your neighbours to close curtains after dark and to park on your drive
remember to cancel newspaper and milk deliveries

Missing pets
Tips for reuniting
I am getting a reputation for reuniting pets to their owners- in last month several cats, a dog, a ferret, a rabbit  and a parrot  all reunited with owners. Neighbourhood Watch working across the county!

My tips for cat owners who have lost their pet cats
The most common pet that goes missing is the cat. Even after many days/weeks it is still worth trying.My experience has taken me to this information.
1) Check your own property, particularly under beds and outhouses
2) Leaflet and ask neighbours to check outhouses and sheds in case locked in 
3) Advertise across all social media (it will be down to owner how much personal information to share
4) Post and check on (found pets as well)
5) A secret tip - put the used pet blanket/bedding on the line so that the smell will attract the cat - an used cat litter box can work but not so effective as a the bedding
6) Put out favourite food - but do not be surprised if they 'find' other cats from the neighbourhood
7) Neutering will reduce wandering but keeping indoors is the only way to ensure that the pet does not go missing
8) The distress of a missing pet cannot be underestimated and the owner may need support. It is probably worse for most owners not to know what has happened to their pet than to discover they have died. Phone call to the local Council Department and they will let the owner know. 
9) It is an odd feature of cats that if they are very unwell or dying they leave home and find somewhere to die.
10) If you are the proud owner of any pet treasure every day they will unconditionally love you - a little treat will always been accepted though.
Message sent by
Maggie Lewis (NWN, Multi Scheme Administrator, Thames Valley, Oxford LPA)

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