If in doubt, keep them out!

Northumbria Police is again running the 'If in doubt, keep them out!' campaign aimed at tackling doorstep crime. Doorstep crime can include distraction burglaries, bogus officials, high pressure doorstep selling, rogue traders and cold callers.

It is a crime which invariably targets the more vulnerable members of our communities including the elderly. The campaign aims to raise awareness of crime prevention and help people keep their property safe. It also encourages people to be good neighbours, by looking out for any suspicious callers in their area.

You cannot always be sure who is calling at your door, so if you are not expecting anyone, you should ask to see their identification. You might think you are being rude by refusing to let someone into your home but it is your property and your decision.


  • Criminals who use false identities to try and get into your home to steal property are known as 'distraction burglars' or 'bogus callers'.
  • Just because a caller says they're from a particular company, like the gas board or water company, the council or even the police, it does not mean that they are from that organisation.
  • Bogus callers can also wear ordinary clothes or be children/adults asking for a drink of water or to wash their hands. These are excuses to distract you.

You can help yourself and Northumbria Police by following these simple steps:

  • Keep your front and back doors locked and take the keys out - even when at home
  • Stop and think if the caller is expected.
  • Look through a spy hole or window to identify who the caller is.
  • Put the door chain or door bar on before opening the door and keep it on while talking to the caller.
  • Ask for the caller's identity card and check it carefully - even if the person has a pre-arranged appointment.
  • Don't let visitors who are in a hurry, pressurise or confuse you leave them to wait outside while you confirm who they are. Genuine visitors will not mind waiting.
  • When you need to leave a caller standing outside, while you collect or check something indoors, always remember to close the door and lock it.
  • Never use a telephone number given to you by a caller find the number in your telephone directory or check with a friend, relative or neighbour.
  • If you are not comfortable, ask the caller to return. Make sure someone is with you when they come back.
  • Only use reputable workmen recommended by family and friends, or those who have worked satisfactorily for you before. Your local Trading Standards might have a registered traders scheme which can provide advice on choosing someone for your job.

Anyone who suspects anything suspicious should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you suspect a crime is being committed call 999.

Page last updated: 
20 June 2012
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