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Oxford Neighbourhood Watch and Community Weekly Newsletter 12-12-21

Alert message sent 12/12/2021 09:32:00

Information sent on behalf of Neighbourhood Watch


Oxford Neighbourhood Watch and Community Weekly Newsletter 12-12-21
collated by Maggie Lewis - Voluntary Area Neighbourhood Watch Representative
and  Administrator covering Oxford . 
Please share and care.
This weekly newsletter is for reading and/or sharing in entirety or copying and pasting. 
The index is available so you can read all or just the items of interest. Items are collated and taken from surfing the web, social media, articles, emails and conversations. Contributions will be gratefully received.
If you have any comments/information/errors or want to unsubscribe please use reply icon below.
There are attachments  to this weekly newsletter.

INDEX
Neighbourhood Watch Network
1) December Newsletter
 Oxford Neighbourhood Watch
1) Recognition volunteer certificates
2) LockLatch
3) Thanks
Thames Valley Police (Oxford)
1) Appeal for witnesses following incident of GBH
2)  Sexual Assault in City Centre 
3) Witness Appeal - Woodstock Road
4) TVP Oxford appeal
5) Missing teenager
6) Helping Sussex police
Neighbourhood Policing Teams
1) Barton/Blackbird Leys
2) Cowley and Wood Farm
3) Oxford Central
4) Oxford North
5) Rose Hill, Littlemore and Iffley
a) Rose Hill Community Centre
b) Sainsburys, Heyford Hill
Crime Prevention
1) Christmas presents
Scams 
1) Reported suspicious emails (update)
2) Call 159 - the hotline to safety
3) Royal Mail
4) HMRC Self-Assessment Scams
5) ATM scams
6) Scammers impersonating the DVLA
7) 12 Scams of Christmas
Oxfordshire County Council
1) Survivors of domestic abuse group
2) Budget consultation
Oxford City Council
1) Covid support
2) Free caddy bin liners
3) Recycling centre closures for Christmas
Crime Information
1)  Illegal vape pens
2) Drug driving
General Information
1) Fire Advice
2) Responding to the challenge of cold weather and winter
3) Alcohol-specific deaths
4)  Streetsafe
5) Date for your diary 14/12/21
6) Homeless people
7)  Moving to Plan B for Covid 19
8) Ensure a Safer Night Out this Festive Period
9) Winter Home Security
10) Oxford Christmas Lunch Safety Update
11) Urgent warning issued to anyone planning on buying a new puppy this Christmas

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH NETWORK
1) December Newsletter 
https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/news/december-2020-our-news-newsletter

.OXFORD NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
1) Recognition volunteer certificates
OCVA (Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action) are giving recognition certificates volunteers to members of associated groups. Certificates are signed by OCVA’s President, Lord Lieutenant Tim Stevenson OBE and Laura Price, CEO of OCVA. 
I have nominated several Coordinators and received certificates yesterday and hope more will follow. I was delighted to receive two for our Coordinators for their work and I will deliver in the week.  Nominations are available for  Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators and members so please let me know what you are doing or if you would like to nominate someone in your community.
Congratulations to Joe Masih (Coordinator) who has set up a Facebook for his members and has been active in his community.. Joe is fairly new but is doing a great job. Congratulations to Martin Scarrott (Coordinator) who has built up an excellent relationship with his local police team and  preventing crime/ Well done to both.
Thank you OCVA for this opportunity to recognize the work of Neighbourhood Watch in Oxford.
 
2) LockLatch
There is a new discount deal for NW with LockLatch  
Thank you to all the litterpickers that met in Greater Leys yesterday. It was a great success with lots of children wearing their high viz jackets and using mini litterpickers. They are looking forward to the next one and we are building the group up gradually.
I will be helping the local PCSO.Megan Osborne, at Pegasus School in Blackbird Leys on Thursday helping clean the local park.
Please do ask in your community for litterpickers - it is not seasonal and is a recognized  Neighbourhood Watch activity to help with your local environment. There is a difference you can make in neighbourhoods eg litter attracts litter and in messy areas there is increased  crime. In a very messy area last month the litter pick resulted in a continuing clean area this month -a satisfying  result.

TVP OXFORD
1) Appeal for witnesses following incident of GBH
We are appealing for witnesses after an incident of GBH in New Road, Oxford.
It happened outside the Cow & Creek on Sunday morning resulting in a man aged in his twenties suffering a fractured wrist and vertebrae.
Info - 101 quoting 43210537692
More here https://orlo.uk/wHOw8

2) Sexual Assault in City Centre (attachment)
Thames Valley Police is releasing a CCTV image of a man officers would like to speak to in connection with a sexual assault in Oxford.
At around 2.30am on Tuesday 24 August this year, an 18-year-old woman was followed down Cornmarket Street, then High Street and onto a bus.
The victim got off the bus and the offender followed her and tried to kiss hernumerous times after being told no
Investigating officer PC Lewis Symm, based at Cowley Police Station said,: ”We are releasing CCTV images of a man we believe may have vital information in relation to this incident.
“If you recognise the man in the images please call Thames Valley Police on 101 quoting the reference 43210380612.
“Alternatively you can make a report online or call the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

3) Witness Appeal - Woodstock Road
We're appealing for witnesses, CCTV and dash-cam footage following an incident of arson in Woodstock Road yesterday.
It happened at around 4am at Family First Solicitors.
Thankfully no-one was injured.
Info- 101 quoting 43210550234

4) TVP Oxford appeal (attachment)
This is an appeal from TVP Oxford but can I add an extra appeal to join the bike register free on BikeRegister - The National Cycle Database and bike marking makes life so much easier for the police to reunite bike and owner. These are expensive bikes.
We’ve posted this appeal twice already, but we’ve not had any success!
Christmas is a time for kindness, yes? So we need your help to reunite these bikes with their owners – to bring them a smile and give them an early Christmas present!
Please share or tag someone who you think may know who these bikes belong to. If they're yours, call 101 quoting reference 43210230742.

5) Missing teenager (attachment)
https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/19768754.police-search-missing-boy-ishmael-bicester/

6) Appeal from Sussex police (attachment)
We are seeking to identify this man who we want to interview about the burglary at Arundel Castle in May this year. He also has connections to the Gloucs, Kent, Oxfordshire and West Mercia areas. See details, description and how to contact us here
https://orlo.uk/KX3ww

7) Missing man, Derek Brant, body found in stream
A body found near an Oxford primary school last month has been confirmed as missing Kidlington man Derek Brant. 
The 63-year-old, who worked at St Anne's College, was reported missing in July.
Thames Valley Police said a man's body was found in a stream near St Mary and St John School, Meadow Lane, the afternoon of November 30. DNA examination yesterday confirmed the man was Mr Brant.
His death his being treated as unexplained, but not suspicious.
Supt Emma Garside said: “This is a tragic case and very sadly, we are now able to confirm that the man who was located in Oxford is Derek.
“He was reported missing to the force in July and efforts have been ongoing to locate him ever since.
“Derek’s next of kin have been made aware and are being offered support by local officers at this time.
“Derek’s death is being treated as unexplained, but not suspicious, and a file has been prepared for the coroner." 
She added: “I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to Derek’s family and friends, and would ask that their privacy is respected at what will be a very difficult time for them.
“I would also like to thank the public and the media for sharing all of our appeals in the search for Derek.”
Mr Brant was last seen at around 3pm on July 24 in South Parade, Summertown. 
At the time, police said he had been wearing a navy/black coloured polo shirt, black cargo trousers and a fluorescent jacket.
The Kidlington resident was said to be a keen walker and also helped on litter picks in the neighbourhood.
In September, Mr Brant’s niece Sadie Wilkinson, 30, published CCTV video showing him walking in Summertown – in the hope that it would help jog people’s memories.
She told the Oxford Mail: “It’s really sad. We thought someone would walk by him and he’d just got lost because this has never happened before."

NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICING TEAMS
(It's always good to see what police teams are doing in our neighbourhoods)

1) Barton/Blackbird Leys
The Blackbird Leys and Barton neighbourhood teams have now concluded a month long operation to tackle knife crime in Oxford. Working with all our local departments we have seized over 70 weapons, made 21 arrests, 22 drug seizures, cleared a cannabis factory, made our parks safer and conducted several school safety presentations. There is always more work to be done but thank you from us for your participation with the knife amnesty and to our partners in the council and schools for your support helping to make Oxford a safer place

2) Cowley and Wood Farm (attachment)
The Temple Cowley NHPT have been spending the week in and around Templars Square Shopping Centre positively engaging with the public.
We will be spending some more time at the location with the run up to Christmas.
Please be mindful when shopping with the large increase of shoppers and if anything suspicious is seen then please report to 101 or 999

3) Oxford Central
Report from Sergeant Pete Neale
My area is very much around the city centre.  I would like to report that since June, we’ve targeted the big 5 cycle thieves for Oxford City Centre, some of whom have appeared in the Oxford Mail.  The net result is that we have a 50% reduction on bike thefts for the city centre alone when compared to 2020 and a massive 75% reduction for November 2021 compared to 2020.
We imprisoned 3 of them for a combined total of 66 weeks.
 Our intention is to keep the focus on the 2 we’ve been unable to imprison, and in the New Year we will be undertaking various engagement events to improve cycle security through bike marking, D Locks and cycle locking demos, both in person and online.
 
4) Oxford North (attachment)
Jericho & North Oxford team were at St Barnabas School this morning following reports of unsafe parking during school drop off time. For your child's safety please use appropriate bays & avoid parking on the Zig zags which can lead to enforcement action & points on your licence.

5) Rose Hill
a) Rosehill Community Centre (attachment)
Rosehill NHPT involved in the Family Festive Fun at the Rosehill Community Centre 10/12 for the whole community to enjoy

b) Sainsburys - community engagement (attachment)
PCSO Sampson of Rosehill/Littlemore and Iffley NHPT at Have Your Say in Sainbury`s 11/12. Would like to say Thank you to Sainsbury`s and everyone that came to speak to us. All concerns raised will be followed up. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

CRIME PREVENTION
1) Christmas presents 
Criminal activity tends to peak more during the holiday season due to several factors. Criminals know that people will be out shopping or travelling meaning that there are lots of valuables in cars and homes that may be unprotected. - more victims with more things to steal. It is nearly impossible to make yourself completely invulnerable to crime, but you can lower your risk. This means spending more time checking your online habits, becoming situationally aware and keeping things from plain sight in both your car and home. Lock your doors, turn on your lights, and keep your eyes open. Christmas is a time for giving and receiving, and certainly not for losing. But another important thing to check is whether you have enough insurance cover.
People need to remain vigilant of any suspicious activity and try to keep any gifts out of view from windows to avoid advertising to opportunist burglars.
Christmas is still a peak time for burglaries and home security should remain a priority. Have a rethink about where to hide presents so you don’t have to get on the phone to your insurer with a heartbreak story. Top places for hiding your presents: 1.The loft or basement
2. Under the bed 
3. In or on top of wardrobes 
4. Hide them in suitcases 
5. In the car boot or garage 
6. In laundry baskets 
As long as it is not on full view from your lounge or kitchen window then any potential burglar is more likely to give your home a miss.

SCAMS
There are many articles here about scams and they may seem unrelated to yourself. This is what scammers hope for - there are so many that we let our guard down. There are many reported scams but I have tried to give you the most 'popular' and seasonal ones. Scams are big business and scamming one person in a day can be lucrative for them. s.

1) Please report all suspicious emails before deleting.
Current reported suspicious emails  report@phishing.gov.uk (you can see it really is worth reporting any suspicions)
As of 30th November 2021 the number of reports received stand at more than 8,700,000 with the removal of more than 68,000 scams across 127,000 URLs.
As of 31st October 2021 the number of reports received stand at more than 8,100,000 with the removal of more than 67,000 scams across 124,000 URLs.

2) Call 159 - the hotline to safety
Banks have launched an emergency hotline to stop criminal gangs stealing your money and your identity. In a bid to protect their customers from scammers after victims were conned out of £1.26bn last year, the banks have decided to take action. The new 159 number, which was launched last month, will put customers through to their banks so they can check with an operator whether they are being targeted by fraudsters. It comes after £753.9million was stolen in the first six months of this year, up 30% from the same period last year, according to data from the banking industry. The national emergency hotline was set up by industry body Stop Scams UK and will run for a trial period of 12 months after the group revealed the COVID-19 pandemic helped give fraudsters opportunities to develop new ways to con victims out of £1.26bn during 2020.
Banks are said to be hoping that the new scheme will prevent money being stolen from customers, which has cost them tens of millions of pounds a year in refunds.
If the pilot is successful, Stop Scams UK said it will ask Ofcom to make 159 a universal number offered by all telephone providers,similar to 101, 111 or even 999.

3) Royal Mail
At this time of year we may be expecting deliveries from Royal Mail and scammers know this as well so please avoid the anguish of being scammed. 
Royal Mail has issued a warning to every household in the UK after two new scams attempting to steal personal information and cash have emerged. Scams come in all forms, but the latest ones to be aware of have been reported to come in the form of an email or text message and there are key things you can keep an eye out for when trying to spot them. Royal Mail sent out a warning after Action Fraud deemed the email "malicious". 
Millions of homes around the UK have been contacted to be made aware of the phishing emails and texts. Back in late 2020, there was a similar scam doing the rounds, which cleverly targeted Christmas shoppers avidly awaiting their parcels in the post. The scam predominantly targeted DPD customers, asking them to pay a fee in order to receive their latest order. 
How you will know it's not Royal Mail?
With regards to the latest set of scams doing the rounds, Royal Mail said: 
 Royal Mail will never send an email asking for credit card numbers or personal or confidential information. 
 Royal Mail will never ask customers to enter information on a page that isn’t part of the Royal Mail website. 
 Royal Mail will never include attachments unless the email was solicited by customer e.g. customer has contacted Royal Mail with an enquiry or has signed up for updates from Royal Mail. 
 Royal Mail have also stressed that they do not receive a person’s email address as part of any home shopping experience. 

Royal Mail scam one
Scams are circulating by text and email and tells recipients to make payments so they ensure their packages can get delivered.The text states:“Royal Mail: your package has a £2.99 shipping fee. Action will be taken if you fail to pay. It also includes a seemingly legitimate Royal Mail website, but it is all bogus. 
Royal Mail scam two
Action Fraud has received 1,700 reports about scam emails claiming a parcel had not been delivered.The message, which appears at first glance almost genuine, warns homeowners if they don't opt for delivery, they will return the package to the sender. It then directs the customer to a link, asking them to fill out an information form.The form then asks users for their card number,security code,sort code,

4) HMRC Self-Assessment Scams
HMRC has issued a warning to self-employed people as it expects scammers to target self-assessment customers. The self-assessment tax return deadline is on January 31, 2022. HMRC will send more than 4 million genuine emails and texts to customers offering guidance, support, and a reminder. But HMRC expects scammers to send malicious emails, calls and texts, pretending to be from the tax office in a bid to get hold of money or sensitive information. Those in doubt can check the HMRC scams section on the Gov.uk website, where they can also report potential scams

5) ATM scams
Nationwide Building Society (NBS.L) has warned customers to be vigilant when using ATMs to stop them from falling victim to ‘cash trapping’.
ATM cash trapping is a popular method used by criminals whereby they physically insert a device called a glue trap inside the machine, which stops the cash being dispensed.
They must ensure the cash slit is clear and if there is anything in it or covering it up, the ATM should not be used and customers should let the bank know. They should also alert the bank if there is no flashing green or blue light when the ATM dispenses money. If anything suspicious or unusual is spotted at an ATM – “stop, don’t use it and report it immediately.
Shoulder surfing
When someone watches a customer entering their PIN at an ATM or in a shop, before stealing their card. They often use distraction techniques or pickpocketing.
 Skimming – using a device and camera attached to an ATM – is another method. This records the details from the magnetic stripe of a card and PIN. Fraudsters then create a fake card with these details and use it to make cash withdrawals and purchases.
Card trapping devices are also being used – they look like part of the ATM and capture and keep the card. Criminals may try to trick customers into re-entering their PIN while they watch so they have the information when they retrieve the card later.

6) Scammers impersonating the DVLA
Be alert to emails and texts claiming to be from the DVLA. Scammers impersonating the DVLA have been targeting motorists in recent weeks with attempts to gather personal and financial details from them.

7) 12 Scams of Christmas (attachment)

OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
1) Survivors of domestic abuse group
We are looking for survivors of domestic abuse to join a new ‘Lived Experienced Advisory Group’ (LEAG) to help influence how we provide support in the future.
The new group will input into the work that Oxfordshire County Council and its providers carry out to ensure that the services delivered best reflect the needs of those who use them.
It hopes to hear from people from all different walks of life – particularly men, members of the LGBTQ+ community, minority ethnic groups, older people, and people with disabilities.

https://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/new-advisory-group-hopes-to-make-the-voices-of-survivors-of-domestic-abuse-heard/

2) Budget consultation
This is an important consultation that gives us the chance to look at the upcoming budget and make our views known. This will effect all of us so please share.
help for vulnerable residents.
https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/budgetconsultation

OXFORD CITY COUNCIL
I am repeating this information as there are further concerns about the pandemic. The contact centre for the City Council is a vital number to let people know. There is a great deal of help available and essential that residents can access this. If you know or are someone who needs a food parcel and needs emergency food help please can you reply to me below. 

1) Covid support
We have set up a single point of contact for vulnerable people to ask for the extra help they may need as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
In order to get some help for yourself or someone you are concerned about you can either:
Call the City Council Contact Centre on 01865 249811: this will take you through to the City Council's main phone line which can help signpost you to the right support. The Contact Centre is staffed 8am to 5pm, with emergency cover out of hours.
Support workers and community groups can refer clients for support via our online referral form (residents cannot self-refer using this form and instead should call us on 01865 249811).
Who should use the contact centre
The contact centre has been set up to get support to those most in need:
People who have received a letter from the NHS identifying them as high risk
those who need help accessing food support 
those with no local support from friends or family 
with physical and mental health needs
vulnerable individuals and families 
What support is available?
Support from our contact centre
The contact centre offers help for emergency needs and can put you in touch with a range of support from the Council and other partners:
Signposting to urgent supplies of medicine, food, or sanitisation for a baby or infant 
Connection to a local support group 
Welfare checks for neighbours if you are concern for their wellbeing
Signposting to Citizens Advice Bureau for additional advice and support
Referral to Welfare Reform Team if you are struggling to pay your rent and you are affected by any of the Welfare Reforms
Please note the Council will not be providing food parcels, but we will be working with partner organisations to help residents access food.

2) Free Food Caddy Liners
This year we can support our local libraries and pick up a free food waste caddy liner. 
Householders are being offered an early Christmas present to help them deal with the extra food waste expected to be generated over the festive period.
Oxfordshire libraries will be giving away free rolls of food waste caddy liners to residents from Wednesday 8 December.
Although all households are provided with food waste recycling collections by their district council, it is estimated that the food waste thrown away in general rubbish bins that could have been recycled costs Oxfordshire County Council more than £2 million extra a year in disposal costs.
Recycling food waste costs less than a quarter of the price of disposing of it with general rubbish. General rubbish in Oxfordshire is burnt to generate energy which already reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to landfill, but recycling food waste doubles the climate change benefit. The recycling process generates green electricity and a fertiliser that is used on farmland across the county.
Each year the council already recycles nearly 25,000 tonnes of food waste – such as vegetable peel, bones, eggshells, plate scapings and used teabags – but it estimates that a similar amount wrongly ends up in general waste.

3) Recycling centre closures for Christmas
Oxfordshire’s seven household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, and will close at 3pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. More information, including details of where to find HWRCs, is available at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/recyclingcentres.

CRIME INFORMATION
1) Illegal vape pens
A warning has been sent nationwide to anyone buying vape pens - they could be illegal with high amunts of nicotine. Hundreds of illegal vape pens worth £14,000 were seized in the Midlands. During the sting Trading Standards officers bagged up hundreds of illegal vape bars. Some of these vapes contain five times the amount of nicotine and e-liquid that is legal - with an average vape yielding up to 1,500 puffs - the equivalent of smoking over 100 cigarettes. Illegal vapes such as these are often fruit flavoured and brightly coloured to make them more attractive to children

2) Drug driving
 One in twenty fatalities on our roads nationally are caused by drug drivers. Many innocent lives are being put at risk by a small number of people who choose to break the law whilst behind the wheel. While the festive period sees office parties and get-togethers with family and friends,there comes a spike in drivers who risk losing their licence by being over the alcohol limit or under the influence of drugs. Drug drive testing Many people who drive after taking drugs feel that they will not get caught. They insist they are in control. Driving under the influence of illegal drugs is increasing throughout the country, people often do not realise that drugs can remain in their system for a considerable amount of time.
Crimestoppers kindly sent this through to me to share -
https://news.npcc.police.uk/releases/forces-to-crack-down-on-drink-and-drug-driving-this-christmas

GENERAL INFORMATION
1) Fire advice (Oxford Mail article)
Firefighters were called to extinguish a blaze caused by an unattended candle.
Fire crews from Rewley Road were called just after 9.30pm last night to reports of smoke from a ground floor flat in the Grandpont area of Oxford.
Crews forced entry to put out the fire, which was around a Christmas tree and the floor.
The blaze caused heavy smoke damage to the living room and kitchen.
The alarm was raised by a smoke detector, which was heard by neighbours who called Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Closing the door in the flat and having working alarms prevented a much more significant fire, the service reported.
The cause of the fire was an unattended lit candle, with fire and rescue warning candles should never be left to burn without supervision.

2) Responding to the challenge of cold weather and winter
https://ukhsa.blog.gov.uk/2021/10/28/responding-to-the-challenge-of-cold-weather-and-winter/

Keeping well, staying warm 
The Cold Weather Plan for England includes advice and guidance on keeping well and staying warm during cold weather, including:
heating the home, or the parts of it you’re using, to above 18°C
staying warm by dressing in multiple thin layers,
having regular hot meals and drinks
moving around as this keeps the blood flowing around the body
planning ahead and keep in touch with the weather forecasts and cold weather alerts
It is also imperative to look out for others, especially the most vulnerable. Everyone likely knows someone in one of these groups, and you can help out by checking in. We also know that cold weather can also mean that some people are isolated, so it may be that a chat and a friendly face is all they need.

 3)  Alcohol-specific deaths
Office of National Statistics
The year 2020 saw 8,974 deaths registered in the UK, which were directly caused by alcohol misuse, equal to 14 per 100,000 people.
These are described as alcohol-specific deaths.
The alcohol-specific death rate in 2020 was 18.6% higher than in 2019. That is the highest yearly rise since the time series began in 2001 and represents a statistically significant increase.
The highest death rates for alcohol-specific deaths in 2020 were seen in Scotland and Northern Ireland (21.5 and 19.6 per 100,000 people).

4) Streetsafe
Are there streets near you where you don’t feel safe? 
Do you avoid an alley or pathway at night because of poor lighting or encroaching bushes blocking the view? 
Does the sight of graffiti or abandoned vehicles in a particular area make you feel unsafe? 
Has the behaviour of others in an area caused you concern, e.g. being followed or verbally abused? 
Even if a crime has not been committed, your safety and wellbeing is being affected. 
Now you can report it, anonymously, via StreetSafe, so that something can be done about it. 
StreetSafe is a service provided across England and Wales by the Police on the police.uk website, to enable you to report streets in your neighbourhood where you don’t feel safe, and identify the reasons for concern. 
Using the reporting webform is simple and quick. All reports in a particular area can be accessed by your local police team, who will liaise with the local council, where necessary, on the actions to improve street safety. 
Street lighting can be added, overgrown hedges can be cut back, or the police can set up foot patrols at particular times of the day or night. 
StreetSafe is not for reporting an actual crime – it is for reporting your concerns about your local environment or the behaviour of groups or individuals in a particular area and its impact on your wellbeing and the safety of you and other residents. 
To access the service visit police.uk/pu/notices/ streetsafe/street-safe/. 

5) Christmas Plus One Invitation 14/12 a date for your diary
https://together.org.uk/christmasplusone/
We are giving every member of the UK public a Plus One this Christmas. We want you to take your Christmas cheer one step further and involve someone new in your festive plans. Reach out or reconnect with someone who might be feeling lonely, a neighbour you haven’t met yet, or someone you helped during lockdown and give them a Plus One. It’s a great way to spread some cheer and positive connection at this difficult time of year for many, and who knows, you might make a new friend and create some wonderful memories for you both.

How?
On Tuesday, 14th December, extend your Christmas cheer and invite a Plus One to join you for some festive fun. You can do whatever you would like – it might be cake and tea in your local cafe, a frosty walk around the park, or a trip to a local festive event, such as Christmas market or carol singing event. Or you could take your Plus One for a Christmas drink at your lovely local pub.

6) Homeless people 
Office of National Statistics
The number of homeless people that died in Oxfordshire last year was the highest since records began - despite emergency support schemes put in place due to the pandemic.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics estimate that at least 13 homeless people died in Oxford in 2020 - with no deaths reported elsewhere in the county.
That was up from eight deaths in 2019, and more than twice as high as the six homeless deaths estimated in 2013, when these figures were first collected.
The figures mainly include people sleeping rough at or around the time of death, but also include those using emergency accommodation such as homeless shelters and direct access hostels.
The method used by the ONS to calculate these figures provides a robust but conservative estimate.
Figures for 2020 were affected by the Everyone In scheme, under which more than 37,000 homeless people nationwide were provided with emergency accommodation since March 2020.
Such accommodation included hotels and other locations not typically used to house homeless people, and with no centralised record of these accommodations, this has made it difficult to identify deaths of homeless people housed under this scheme.
As such, figures for 2020 may underestimate the true number of homeless deaths even further - although charities say more people would likely have died if it wasn’t for the scheme.
Breakdown of deaths
Oxford City Council told Oxfordshire Live that there had been 10 homeless people who died either on the streets or in supported accommodation in 2020 that they were aware of.
These included two people who had been sleeping rough - one of whom died before the first national lockdown, with the other refusing the support of the Everyone In scheme.
Two had been living in Everyone In accommodation, and five were living in supported accommodation as part of the council's adult homeless pathway.
One other died in a house in Blackbird Leys, but was not involved in the council's adult homeless pathway in 2020.

Oxford death rates among highest
Oxford has one of the highest rates of death amongst homeless people in the country, with an estimated 58 deaths between 2013 and 2020 - 60.7 per million people.
That’s more than four times higher than the national rate of 14.0 homeless deaths for every million people across England and Wales.
Across England and Wales, there were estimated to be at least 688 deaths of homeless people in 2020 - down from 778 in 2019, which had been a record high.
Despite the decrease, the figure is 43 per cent higher than the number when the figures began in 2013.

7) Moving to Plan B for Covid 19
 Plan  measures are designed to help stop the spread of the virus − especially as new cases of the Omicron variant are being detected − protect capacity in the NHS, and save lives.
From Friday 10 December, wearing a face covering will be mandatory in most public indoor places, including cinemas and theatres and places of worship.
From Monday 13 December, everyone who can work from home is asked to do so.
From Wednesday 15 December, an NHS COVID-19 pass or proof of negative lateral flow test will be required for entry to nightclubs and large capacity venues.

 8) Ensure a Safer Night Out this Festive Period
The festive period is approaching once again friends, colleagues and family will be getting together to celebrate with drinks likely in full flow.
Enjoy but stay safe when out and about with these top tips:
Surround yourself with your friends
Stay in a trusted group where possible, reducing the risk of you becoming a target of a perpetrator.
Pre-arrange transport from a trusted source
Both pre and post-night out, it is important to arrange transport with someone you trust, whether this be a reputable, reliable licensed taxi provider or a lift from someone you know well. Don’t be tempted to get into an unlicensed taxi for a quicker ride home. The risks, especially to unaccompanied women, are far too high.
When ordering alcohol, drink in moderation and keep a close eye on your glass
Stay in control of your own body when out drinking. Never push your boundaries, know how much alcohol you can handle – what may seem like a fun idea at the time can often turn out to have negative results. Keep a close eye on your beverage and never leave it unattended – being spiked can ruin your night and even your life.
Stay in populated areas which are well lit
People are less likely to commit crime in lit areas where there are plenty of people and CCTV operating. Never take shortcuts through dark alleyways or by unlit parks – ensure you plan your route home in advance. 
Keep your valuable belongings close and hidden
People often have personal belongings stolen on a night out, as perpetrators see someone who is drunk as an easy target. Zip all valuables away in a secure bag or pocket, ensuring you are not advertising items such as your mobile phone or purse.
Stay away from trouble
If you recognise a situation may be getting heated or there is an argument brewing, stay out of it and get help from the police or bouncers. Don’t try and be the hero of the night.
Download a personal safety app, such as Hollie Guard: For added reassurance Hollie Guard allows you to notify your chosen contacts, pinpoint your location and send audio and video evidence directly to their mobile phones.

9) Winter Home Security
Don’t give criminals the opportunity to strike this Christmas, let’s stay one step ahead.
Don’t leave your home in darkness. Invest in a timer switch and vary the time it turns on each day to make it look more natural. It can also be used with a radio or TV to give the impression that someone is at home. If you are leaving a light on, make sure it’s a room that cannot be looked into from the road.
Purchase a fake/ simulated TV device which lights up a room as if a TV is on.
Keep valuables out of sight.
Register your valuables via Immobilise and keep an inventory list.
If you have jewellery at home, photograph it for insurance purposes and store it in a suitable safe place.
Lock all doors and windows. Make sure all keys are removed from locks and kept out of reach.
Look out for your neighbours’ houses, especially when they’re not home.
Join your local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. Visit www.ourwatch.org.uk or reply below for further details.
Rubbish / Recycling – Your rubbish can give thieves an insight into what you own and what valuable items are in your home. Recycling is of particular interest because they can see whether you’ve purchased any big-ticket items. Make sure to break down your boxes. If you leave them intact, it’s easier for thieves to know what to look for when breaking into your home.

10) Oxford Christmas Lunch Update
Some members and residents may be going to the Oxford Christmas Lunch. This is still on and Sara has sent this reassurance to anyone attending. The numbers are within the Plan B as given by the Government. Please share this information with anyone you know who will be attending.
The Oxford Christmas Lunch is a free Christmas meal with transport provided. A vital annual service for the lonely, homeless, elderly, vulnerable and those experiencing financial difficulties - let's hope it goes ahead and all can share some festive cheer. The volunteers and previous participants really enjoy this lunch.
Dear Maggie ,
I am sending you our Covid policy so that all our guests can be informed and hopefully reassured about the risks .
With the increased concerns about the new Covid variant we wanted to make you aware of the steps we will be taking regarding the Oxford Christmas Lunch at the King's Centre on Christmas Day.
Numbers will be limited to under 500, in line with government 'Plan B' guidelines.
All volunteers will be double vaccinated and will take a lateral flow test before coming.
Everyone will be asked to wear masks when not seated.
Guests are not required to be double vaccinated but will be asked to take a lateral flow test if they are able and not to come if they feel unwell.
Masks will be worn during transportation and prior to being seated.
Touchpoints such as door handles will be regularly sanitised.
Everyone will have their temperature taken as they arrive at the King’s Centre.
Contact details will be kept for ten days in case of any subsequent infections.
Please could you let any service users who have booked a place through you know, and also inform us of any changes.
This is obviously a fast-changing situation and we will be keeping a close eye on the infection numbers and government advice.
Yours Sara

11) Urgent warning issued to anyone planning on buying a new puppy this Christmas
People planning on buying a new puppy this Christmas have been sent a warning over where they buy their new pets.
Councils have warned people not to buy from irresponsible or criminal sellers in the lead up to Christmas.
How to spot a responsible dog breeder
There are  a number of ways people can tell they are buying their pets from  a responsible breeder.
These include:
Able to provide a local authority licence if they are breeding and selling as a business.
Having genuine paperwork for vaccinations, microchipping and any test results.
Being available for detailed phone conversations about the dog.
Other signs of reputable sellers include them arranging visits to meet the puppy along with its mother and siblings.
Message sent by
Maggie Lewis (Neighbourhood Watch Network, Multi Scheme Administrator, Thames Valley, Oxford LPA)
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