Officers from the Safer Hartlepool Partnership's Community Safety Team recently spent some time with members of the Blind Welfare Association to pass on important crime prevention and safety advice.

Seen as potential easy targets because of their visual impairments, members were taken through what they do if confronted by an unexpected caller. 

They were advised:

  • not to open their doors to anyone except pre-arranged visitors
  • to keep their front and back doors locked at all times, and
  • to display a sticker bearing the message ‘No Door Step Calling' to warn off would-be cold callers.

The association's members were also given general advice on personal and home safety and were each issued with personal safety alarms and other crime prevention items.

Elizabeth O'Rourke from the Hartlepool Blind Welfare Association, which is based in Avenue Road, said: "It is very important that vulnerable residents are kept up to date with community safety advice as they can be potential easy targets for criminals."

The Community Safety Team is also in the process of developing new strategies for providing the most effective advice to visually-impaired residents in Hartlepool. It is looking at the possibility of linking in with the Blind Welfare Association's talking newsletters to communicate other important safety messages.

The Safer Hartlepool Partnership's community cohesion officer, Sue Willoughby, said: "Forming this new relationship with the Blind Welfare Association allows us to communicate directly with vulnerable residents who may not have been exposed to safety messages before."

"We also hope that establishing this partnership with members of the association will enable us to form a two-way communication on how vulnerable communities in Hartlepool want to receive community safety advice in the future."

Colin Hopkins, crime prevention officer for Hartlepool New Deal for Communities, said: "We hope to reduce the risk of further incidents taking place and send out a clear message that bogus callers are not welcome amongst visually impaired and vulnerable communities in Hartlepool."