How to prevent street crime

Thieves target phones (especially smartphones), tablets, laptops and handbags.

By taking a few simple precautions you can keep yourself safe when in public places and protect yourself from becoming a victim of crime.

What should I do to keep safe?

Smartphones and tablets

  • theft of these items is prominent due to their high resell value
  • try not to expose them on the street too much and be aware of your surroundings when using them in public
  • in cafes and restaurants be aware of distraction crime (people asking you questions or selling things) and keep these items in your sight at all times
  • use a UV marker to mark your postcode and house number on your phone under the battery

General advice when you're out and about

  • Carry your bag close to you with the clasp facing inwards. Keep it zipped up, and make sure your wallet or purse can't be seen. If someone grabs your bag, let it go – you are less likely to get hurt and your safety is more important than your property!
  • When at a bar or a restaurant, keep your belongings safe and out of reach of passers-by and use bag hooks under tables if available
  • Take everything out of your pockets if you hanging your jacket somewhere
  • Be aware of distraction techniques, people asking directions or selling things in shops, especially if you have a smartphone or tablet
  • Spread your possessions about - keep your mobile phone separate from your purse, and your keys separate from your credit card
  • Cover up any expensive jewellery and, if you must carry other valuables, be discreet
  • If you think you are being followed, cross the road and get to the nearest place where others are around
  • Don’t take short cuts through dark alleys, parks or waste ground – stick to well lit roads with pavements

Staying safe at cashpoints

  • Be aware of who is watching you
  • Make an effort to ensure no one can see the number you key in
  • Put your money away immediately
  • If your card appears to be stuck in the machine and there’s no alerting display, run your finger around the inside of the slot. If you feel a little tongue or tag, try pulling gently. Your card may emerge - along with a sleeve placed into the slot to trap the card for a thief.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash

Staying safe on public transport

  • Avoid isolated bus stops
  • Sit near the driver or conductor
  • Sit in a busy carriage on trains - ideally one near the exit at your destination

Staying safe in taxis

  • Avoid mini-cabs and private hire companies touting for business
  • Sit behind the driver
  • Check the taxi that arrives is the one you ordered – make them give you your name or reference
  • If the worst happens, shout and scream for help. Defend yourself with items you have with you - e.g. an umbrella or keys. Do not use anything that can be described as an offensive weapon.

Secure your vehicle

  • Vehicle crime, which accounts for nearly a quarter of all recorded crime and costs over £3 billion a year, can be reduced by owners following some practical steps. Older cars are particularly prone to being stolen or broken into, with over 80% of all cars stolen being seven years or older.
  • Protecting your car could save you time and money as waiting for an insurance company to pay out or your vehicle to be repaired can be time consuming.

How do I register my belongings?

Register your belongings with

How do I report crime?

Report crime and antisocial behaviour


Vandalism is an illegal, anti-social activity that creates a negative impression of an area and contributes to people's fear of crime.

If you would like to report any acts of vandalism to Council property, private property or street furniture, please use the contact details below.

Report a crime

Contact Community Safety


Contact your local police station

There is a lot you can do to protect your home against burglary.

Nearly half of all burglaries happen when a home is empty. Most burglars are opportunist, and will make the most of an open windows or unlocked door. In many cases, it takes just two minutes for someone to break in, steal property and leave.

  • free home security checks
  • How to keep intruders out
  • shut and lock all windows and doors, even if you are only going out for a short time
  • do not hide keys outside your home or leave them in a visible place near windows and doors
  • if you have just moved into a new home, think about changing the door locks. You never know who may still have a key
  • make sure your doors are secure. Check the frames, hinges and glass panels as most thieves will target your home through a door
  • fit a chain on your door or a door viewer. Do not open the door if you do not know who it is
  • make sure expensive items like televisions and stereos cannot be seen from outside
  • always close your communal door and never let anyone in that you do not know
  • use a UV pen to mark your property with your postcode and house number. This will deter thieves as it makes it harder to sell on stolen goods
  • when you go out, make sure your home looks occupied by leaving on lights and radios and using a timer switch
  • hide or lock away all passports and official documents
  • get a burglar alarm, visible alarms make burglars think twice
  • if you have a shed, make sure it is locked securely and keep all tools out of sight. Lock ladders away so that they cannot be used by burglars to access your property
  • if you see anything suspicious, be a good neighbour and report it to the police
  • be aware of bogus callers. If you are unsure about the person at the door do not let them in
  • do not buy goods you think may have been stolen. If burglars can't sell goods on they are less likely to steal

Defending your home

Homes with good security are less likely to be burgled. Apart from making sure all windows and doors are locked, fit a visible alarm and use timers for lights and radios when you're out. The following advice will also keep burglars out:

  • deadlocks can make it harder for burglars to get out with your property if they got in through a window
  • window locks deter burglars because if a thief has to smash glass they will leave forensic evidence and draw attention to themselves
  • security lighting is a good deterrent. Place the lighting near entry points so as not to disturb your neighbours
  • protect your property with good fencing. Fences at the back of your house may make the area more secure, but make sure solid fencing does not make it easy for a burglar to hide. Instead, chain-link fencing or trellises with prickly shrubs are a good idea
  • if you have been burgled before there is a possibility the burglar will return. Thieves commonly return to steal what they missed or the items you have replaced
  • be very careful at Christmas time, burglars know there are presents around
  • Police officers can visit your home and suggest security improvements.

Current scams: Fake locksmith stickers

A recent report suggests that fake locksmith stickers may be used by criminals to mark properties for future burglaries

If you find one on your property and you are suspicious then report it to the police on 101 and remove the sticker.

Please note that some genuine locksmiths leave these phone number stickers on properties they have carried out work on in case clients lock themselves out. Call the number on the sticker if you are unsure.

Pedal cycle theft

Register it

This will make it easier for the police to reunite you with your bike if it is recovered.

Register your bike at

Around 150,000 bicycles are stolen across Britain every year, with bike theft proving to be a growing frustration for cyclists everywhere. You can make your bike more secure using the following tips:

  • do not leave cycles in isolated places
  • make sure you secure bikes to proper cycle stands or robust street furniture (but do observe any requests not to use certain items of street furniture and be sure not to cause any damage)
  • lock cycles through the frame, and secure or remove wheels. Also remove smaller parts and accessories that can't be secured, especially lights, pumps and quick release saddles
  • make the lock hard to manoeuvre when parked.
  • do not allow thieves to place your lock(s) in contact with the ground.
  • park cycles safely and considerately where they will not cause a danger or obstruction to others, particularly to older people, young children or people with disabilities. And always lock a cycle when leaving it, even if it's only for a few minutes.
  • Get a lock that works

Call Sold Secure on 01327 264687 or visit for a list of approved locks. They also strongly recommended ground or wall anchors for use in a garage or shed.

More than half of all bike thefts take place from the owner's property so ensure garages and sheds are well secured and never leave your bike unattended outside your home, even for just a short time.



Bogus callers

Distraction burglary

Bogus callers are rare, but will try any trick to get into your home. Most people pretend to be an official, such as someone from a gas or electricity company, a council worker or police officer.

Many also pretend to be door-to-door sales people and others use children or a friend to distract you whilst an accomplice sneaks into your house.

Most people who come to your door are genuine callers, but do make sure. Fitting a door chain or spy-hole will help you check who the caller is.

To stay safe and sound, follow these steps when someone calls at your door:

  • keep the door closed and ask who it is
  • ask if they have an appointment. If yes, check any identity they can produce. If no, do not open the door for any reason
  • if they say they are from a company, ask them for your password (if you have one). They will know this if they are genuine. If they don’t know it, don't let them in
  • genuine callers will always be prepared to return by appointment at a time that is safe and convenient to you, perhaps when you have a friend with you
  • if in doubt, keep them out. Don't let them in. Dial 999 and tell the police
  • remember, nobody has the right or need to enter your property unless you want them to. No appointment, no entry.

If you let someone into your home, even if it is someone you know, and you become uncomfortable, make excuses and leave. Go to a friend's or neighbour's house and get someone to come back with you.

Find out more about free home security checks

Home Safety

Being safe in your home is not just about locks and bolts. There are many issues that can affect the safety of all our homes. It is important that you are fully aware of the dangers that can exist and of the action you can take to avoid becoming a victim.

Free home security checks

Police crime prevention officers (CPOs) can visit your home to look at what improvements can be made. CPOs are based at each police station and can be contacted at your local police station. 

Contact your local police station

Free smoke alarms

Fact: You are twice as likely to die in a fire at home if you haven't got a smoke alarm.

Find out more about fire safety

Health and safety and security grant

Grants and loans are available for repairs and improvements to homeowners, landlords and private tenants living in Camden.

Further information can be found in the housing and adult social care pages

Falls prevention

You can find further information on preventing falls on the Help the Aged website