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Can police do more than they say they can about suspicious car in early hours?

28 replies

Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 09:31

We were burgled at the end of last month. Since then, we have seen a car, possibly the same one each time, driving slowly up our street then back again and stopping outside the house for up to a minute. Between 4 and 5.30 in the morning. We managed to photograph the registration and police said they would try to get police in the area to look out for it.

We actually spent 3 nights in a hotel because it was so awful lying in bed listening for the car. We now have cameras all around the exterior of the house. Last night they captured the same scene as we’d been seeing, tho as we weren’t awake, we didn’t photograph the reg.

Police don’t appear to have sent anyone to the area to look out for the car. But aside from this, to my mind, having a car reg means they have the ability to find the owner and check them out. I presume I’m wrong in thinking that as nothing is being done. We’re going to have to set the alarm every night and wait for the car, ring 999 and I don’t know what.

Can I expect more of the police, or is this just life?

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ProfessorSlocombe · 12/10/2020 09:54

How do you know it's not an unmarked police car patrolling your street ?

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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 11:05

Because the police would have told me when I rang 999. They identified the car on their system and it wasn’t a police car. I rang 101 this morning and they said police haven’t been out to look out for the vehicle at all.

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Happyotamus · 12/10/2020 11:27

Because the police would have told me when I rang 999

Ughhh no they wouldn't Police don't disclose the details of their unmarked cars to anyone. For obvious reasons.

They are not going to patrol just for this car either, what a waste of resources. If they are out dealing with another call, then it will flag in the system and they may stop it.

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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 12:39

Thanks Happypotamus. They burgled us while we were asleep. They’ve come every night since. The police told us to call 999 when we see the car stopping outside our house in the early hours.
But you seem to know what you’re talking about, so I’ll go with what you say and won’t bother the police again.

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Champagneforeveryone · 12/10/2020 12:39

But what do you expect them to do exactly?

Granted the car may appear "suspicious" but there's not actually any law to prevent someone from driving slowly down a road. Police can find the registered keeper of the car, but what would you expect them say to them?

And even though you were told by 101 that nobody had been sent out, they were likely referring to the report you made specifically. That doesn't mean that the area is not flagged up as somewhere officers should be paying extra attention to when they're out and about.

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MegaClutterSlut · 12/10/2020 12:47

The car hasn't broken any laws as far as I'm aware so i don't think there's much the police can do atk but I can completely understand op why you would want it checked out

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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 12:52

I should have added, on one of the nights, they got out and walked onto my neighbour’s drive for a short period of time, then back into their car. Every night, they drive slowly one way, then the other and then park up where the pavement drops from the drive across mine and my neighbour’s drive. They always go to the same place, the road is silent otherwise and they never stay for more than a minute.

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Dreading2020sSeasonFinale · 12/10/2020 13:05

I'd actually go out bold as brass (with my phone on record!) and loudly ask. "Excuse me mate, can I help you? You keep stopping your car outside out house in the early hours almost nightly. You're all over ours and the neighbour's CCTVs mate!"
Your houses will become more trouble than they're worth to rob.

Get a big yellow sign at the end of your drive saying smile you're on camera or something similar. And a security light. Burglars hate security lights lighting them up when approaching. It certainly does sound like you have good cause to want police assistance but they're stretched right now and you would do better sorting it yourselves scaring the burglars away. Of course it just means, "go rob someone else" but if the police won't do anything it's your only option.

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Juanmorebeer · 12/10/2020 13:14

Hi OP sorry you are feeling anxious after the burglary it must be a difficult time. I can try and explain a little of what the process can be.

When you provided the reg to the police they would have already checked it out to see who is the keeper/permitted drivers etc.

Another thing that will have been done is that they put what is called an intelligence log onto the system attached to that number plate so that any time another officer checks that plate for instance if it was involved in something else then the Intel about the car visiting your house in early hours will pop up on screen.

It isn't as easy as just being able to do something on the basis of one intelligence log, as a very LOOSE rule to do things like obtain search warrants you'd need to have 3 intelligence logs from different sources about the same thing over a period of say, three months.

So you've definitely done the right thing about providing the reg number to the control room, and it is also great that you have CCTV.

When you were previously burgled were you offered a referral at all to any victim support services?

Have you talked to your neighbour about the incident of the people getting out the car and looking at the drive? Do they also have CCTV?

If so then if you can get the clip of the CCTV and you can see the person/people clearly it may help

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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 13:41

Thanks Juammorebeer. That’s a really helpful post. I have spoken to the neighbours. We are the only house with cctv near to where the car stops. I don’t know if they’ve discovered we’ve had it installed yet.

I guess my ultimate worry is that this car has been doing this so consistently that I don’t know when and how it will end. I don’t know if they’re waiting till we get cars again, waiting to try our house again or casing our neighbour’s, not us.

Also, we live in a city which is notorious for its gang families. I’m scared of how dangerous they might be.

On the afternoon after our burglary, 2 men came into our garden and ran when they saw us in the window. I guess they felt they’d only half done the burglary and wanted to come and see if we had jewellery etc on other floors of the house. So I do feel they have reason to come back.

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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 13:45

Can victim support act as our link with the police e.g. passing on info related to the crime? Or are they more there for trauma support?

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Ohthatsgreat · 12/10/2020 13:46

So have you been up in the night and witnessed this car driving down or is it just what your camera is picking up?

I’d be tempted to wake up one night when it arrives, turn on your house lights and open the front door and watch them. Once they have seen someone is up and about and watching them they may think twice about targeting your street. Thieves often don’t want aggro, they look for soft targets.

Did the police give you any advice about securing your property? Take a look at other measures, like front or side gates, security lights, indoor lights on timers. Get your locks upgraded to the most secure anti snap type. You can buy alarms to attach to windows and doors so if anyone tries to break them, they will sound. Encourage your neighbours to join a WhatsApp group with you as well. Handy way to share info and once other people are aware of this car they might step up security and vigilance as well.

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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 13:53

Thanks Ohthatsgreat. Yes, we have been woken by the car about 4 times and on the 4th got a photo of its reg and could see its make.
We then stayed in a hotel because it was all so scary. Now we have cctv, we’ve set it to photograph the road every 30 seconds. So we slept through it, but were able to watch back on cctv. Cctv doesn’t capture its colour or reg though.
We have the Ring security system which seems great. Will continue to tinker with it all to update security further.

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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 13:55

Part of the reason I haven’t alerted them to our presence is that I don’t want any interaction with them if they’re dangerous. I don’t want them to continue to case us in a different way without my knowledge.

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Juanmorebeer · 12/10/2020 13:57

Victim support are usually separate and just to support you but you should be able to request a visit from your local beat officer or PCSO who can give you advice on home security measures if you have not had this already?

The cameras are the best thing you can have but like another poster said leaving lights on is good or security movement sensor lights on the front and in back garden.

I can tell you are feeling very on edge so it must be frustrating if you feel like nothing is being done.

I'd continue to call 101 if you are awake and the car is in situ. However unless there is a burglary actually in progress it would not be prioritised as a grade 1 response so chances are if the car only stays a minute then by the time a police car got there they would be gone. If you have photographs/videos then this is the best thing for now. If you do wake up you could take photos with your phone too if you can of occupants.

It does sound like an unusual thing to be happening but as another poster said it doesn't have to definitely mean that this car is burglars, it could be something innocent but a bit odd.

Keep a diary of any dates and times and the direction the car is pointing and side of the road/where it drives off to etc.

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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 14:36

Thanks again Juanmorebeer.

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Ohthatsgreat · 12/10/2020 14:49

I would be tempted to leave lights on then maybe or set them on timers to turn on and off in the night. Have a look at your ring settings too. Personally I have Arlo which is set to sound an alarm if someone steps on our drive after a certain time. I feel much more secure because it is an alert to me and hopefully scare a thief off too.

We had two men try to break in our house at night whilst we were asleep. They targeted the lock on our back door. It shook me up for a while. I found the police were good but there’s only so much they can do. Like others said, driving down a road isn’t a crime, but of course, it’s unnerving and you know and probably the police know it’s dodgy but not much they can do. So you just have to take all available steps you can. The other thing I found was highlighting it to neighbours. Many didn’t have a clue our street was being targetted for theft (other houses had cars nicked etc) but once they did, many stepped up their security and now loads of houses have cameras which is a big deterrent.

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KurriKawari · 12/10/2020 14:51

OP, my only advice is please do not approach the car as someone suggested. If they are burglars, you have no idea if they are armed. Don't put yourself at risk.

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ProfessorSlocombe · 12/10/2020 14:53

@Davespecifico

Part of the reason I haven’t alerted them to our presence is that I don’t want any interaction with them if they’re dangerous. I don’t want them to continue to case us in a different way without my knowledge.

To be honest, this doesn't sound remotely like the MO of burglars. I'd be wondering what other reason there could be for a car - making if bloody obvious it is there - prowling the roads on multiple occasions ?

My initial comment was prompted by an incident a while ago where an unmarked police car found itself at the wrong end of a vigilante sting. It's not unusual for the police to forget they are the police sometimes ... (anyone remember that brainwave they had a few years back to sneak in to unlocked houses ....)
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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 14:54

I think I’ll ask our road if they’d like to form a WhatsApp group. It’s a road of large houses where people keep themselves to themselves. But those that I’ve approached regarding the burglary have been lovely. Might help set up some community spirit.

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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 14:57

I think the driver thinks they’re not being obvious. They come at the quietest time and I don’t think they know they’ve been spotted.

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ProfessorSlocombe · 12/10/2020 15:03

@Davespecifico

I think the driver thinks they’re not being obvious. They come at the quietest time and I don’t think they know they’ve been spotted.

But that's is investing a lot of time and effort into the venture which generally thieves (being on the thick side) don't tend to do.

Unless you are custodian of something especially niche, rare or valuable. In which case (unless you've not told the police) the police would already be aware of the situation.

I could believe your jobbing burglar might drive past a house once in the early morning on the off chance. But to return - with accomplices - on more than one occasion suggests they are looking for something very specific. And with that fact, the police should also have twigged there is Something Going On, (assuming they aren't too busy checking the thinking of people on Twitter).
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RaspberryHartleys · 12/10/2020 15:09

You sound really anxious and I'm really sorry you've had such a horrible experience.

I dont think the police are likely to do anything about someone driving down your road at night. Do you have any evidence that it's the burglar's car? Or evidence that they're trying to break in (testing door handles, looking in windows etc)?

I used to drive up and down a lot with my DN when young - it was the only way to get her asleep. Do you think you're jumping to the worst conclusion because of your recent experience?

It would be totally understandable but perhaps your GP and not the police are the best point of call to help.

Good luck

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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 15:11

I do think it’s related to the burglary. I think it’s a moment of their time, may be on their way to an early shift, maybe just one of several p,aces they’re keeping an eye on. The police didn’t seem to think it unrelated.

We haven’t replaced our cars yet.

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Davespecifico · 12/10/2020 15:13

No raspberryhartleys, not that I’m anxious, just observing a pattern. They drive up and down the road once only and park literally on our/our neighbour’s drive every night for up to a minute between 4 and 5. Once they got out and walked on to the. Neighbour’s drive.

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