How does crime respond in a crisis?
Cases of volunteer fraud and doorstep crimes against the vulnerable escalate in crisis situations. Criminals thrive in these conditions.
Organised crime groups also deliberately target larger scale thefts, from garage freezers full of food to foodbanks. Very often to sell the stolen goods on.
Crime behaves like a virus, with localised infections spreading if they are not contained.
The internet makes the work of criminals easier in such situations. They can identify targets using social media, and utilise street maps, and other information to plan their strategies.
They are also more able to identify weaknesses in police response due to the information culture.
How can we all help prevent crime?
Over recent weeks there has been a rapid growth in private Facebook and Whatsapp groups branded around the current COVID19 virus outbreak.
Police forces, the National Crime Agency and Action Fraud have already reported surges in fraudulent volunteer activity mirroring this branding.
While commendable, this digital operating environment brings risks around privacy, data protection, and access for criminal elements.
Don’t share private information relating to vulnerable people in these groups.
Do perform at least basic checks to ascertain who those joining your groups are.
Do register your group (or as an individual) with your local council or resilience forum.
Do download and use our open resources, which include government recognised group templates and privacy templates too.
If you see any suspicious behaviour, report it immediately via your local police force, Action Fraud, or Crimestoppers.
Police: Call 101 (in an emergency dial 999)
Action Fraud: visit or call 0300 123 2040
Crimestoppers: visit or call 0800 555 111
Local Resilience Forums: visit to find your local contact.