Monthly Archives: February 2012
Wallington thief caught by CCTV images
It’s easy to assume that – of all things, our schools would be pretty safe places. Sadly, that’s not proving the case in Surrey. It seems that criminals are not content with desecrating our war memorials, thieves are now targeting schools. And their favourite item to steal is the mobile phone. There are plenty of reasons for this. Firstly, a mobile handset is light and easy to conceal. With the introduction of smartphones, these mobile handset have become high value items costing hundreds of pounds to purchase outright. Which makes mobile phones highly attractive to thieves who aren’t just trying to sell them in pubs or clubs but in some cases are stealing to order and sending the phones abroad to countries where the mobile operators can’t detect that a handset appearing on their networks.
Recently, Emma Griffiths – a police inspector working in Tamworth, Surrey, publicly urged people to keep their mobile phones safe, after a spate of thefts. Significantly, Inspector Griffiths specially singled out schools as a place where mobile phones could go missing. She told Thisis Tamworth
“Schoolchildren should be aware of not leaving their mobile phones around in PE bags at school – they are really something that needs taking care of,” Griffiths warned. She also urged people not to be careless and leave their handsets in pockets of unattended coats or bags.
A teacher at Barrow Hedges Primary School, Carshalton, Surrey wasn’t so lucky. She had left her classroom to make a cup of tea and in doing so had left her iPhone 4 on a desk. When she returned moments later she found that her phone had gone. In this case a man, Mark Ross, of Wallington, Surrey was apprehended for the crime – according to a report in the Surrey Comet http://www.surreycomet.co.uk/news/sutton/9532123.Man_jailed_for_stealing_phone_from_school/
The crook was caught because the school had actually installed a surveillance system. The school’s CCTV was checked by officers from the Carshalton Central and Carshalton South and Clockhouse safer neighbourhoods teams and Mr Ross was identified entering the classroom.
The CCTV showed him leaving the classroom with what appeared to be a phone in his hand. Although Ross was arrested at his home later the same day, unfortunately for the teacher, her mobile phone was never recovered.
This incident proves the value of installing some form of video surveillance in the places where children might leave their mobile phones. These days even young children possess mobile phones and we know of at least one ten year old who managed to lose her BlackBerry smartphone – worth around £150. With tight budgets, schools might inaccurately assume that installing a system is expensive. That’s not the case with web-based surveillance systems such as those sold by Jabbakam. Cameras themselves cost as little as £50 and the other requirement – a broadband Internet connexion, is something which a school would already possess. Posting signs to say that the cloakrooms are covered by cameras should at least deter all but the most determined thief.
Amusing side-effect of web based surveillance
Here at Jabbakam Towers we’re in the business of practicing what we preach. And, having recently warned our readers of the dangers of rural theft, our governor decided it would be a jolly good idea if he followed his company’s own advice. Hence, he installed a Jabbakam camera in his own barn. One amusing side-effect of this installation is that he has now turned him into something of an amateur naturalist. David Attenborough eat you heart out – the video below was filmed at a fraction of the cost of a Life on Earth TV episode. (more…)
Web based surveillance can deter animal and plant thefts
Those who think that the countryside is far less prone to crime than inner city areas have obviously never lived in a rural community. There are, however, some crimes which are almost unique to non-urban areas and one of these is horse theft. Just as metal theft is increasing, so is the theft of items associated with the keeping of horses. Take this example which appeared on the New Forest Equine Directory’s Horsewatch news pages here http://www.nfed.co.uk/horsewatch.htm. “[Twice] thefts from a field in Leigh Lane occurred. The offenders stole various items including a distinctive Pirelli lunge line, lead ropes, girths, head collars and an electric fence battery. These were taken from an insecure trailer.”
So it isn’t just horseboxes and buggies which thieves are targeting. It is all types of horse associated equipment, although any machinery with a diesel engine is particularly prone to theft.
There are all kinds of (mainly voluntary) organisations spread across the UK which aim to bring together the horse community and local police forces. The best way to find your local body is to visit the national Horsewatch Alliance web site which has a map here ww.ukhorsewatch.org.uk/Map.html . There are also links to Horsewatch information pages on some of the local police force web sites. A good example of this is provided by the Avon and Somerset Constabulary which has pages outlining horse related crimes here
Already there is a nationwide scheme in place known as CESAR (the Construction & Agricultural Equipment Security and Registration Scheme). This is promoted by the Construction Equipment Association (CEA). Effectively, the scheme recognises the benefits of Datatag’s http://www.datatag.co.uk/ ID technology and there are various types of tag which can be applied to horse related machinery such as self-adhesive, glass and datadots. When recovered, this will enable equipment to be returned to its rightful owners.
But it’s a bit like – and we’ve been dying to say this – closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Wouldn’t it be better to put a deterrent in place? This is where web based surveillance systems – such as Jabbakam – can play a part. It should be quite feasible to put cameras in place that at least watch the stable yard – perhaps even the fields in which the horses are grazing. Then the owners could display a sign such as ‘Horse thieves – smile you are on camera’. Even if this doesn’t dissuade thieves, there’s a good chance that a vehicle registration number or an image of the thief’s face caught on camera can be passed to the police authorities. All it would take is a for a criminal to be caught in this manner and the word would spread like wildfire.