|Chalk signage has been used far & wide for decades. All marks are different depending on country.|
Burglars are using coded chalk symbols to let other criminals know whether a property is worth targeting. The marks, are made by would-be thieves to indicate if the house is vulnerable, revealing who is living in the house and whether there is anything worth stealing. Chillingly one sign, in the shape of an open book, says a vulnerable female resident is the occupant and another symbol indicates a homeowner who is ‘nervous and afraid’.
Police are now investigating the shapes after speaking to other residents in the area and have distributed leaflets in the area warning of the symbols. The code has been previously been spotted in other parts of the country. Resembling washing instructions with a series of crosses, circles and boxes, they have been found on walls and surfaces of homes as well as pavements and kerbs. A simple 'X' means the home is a good target, while the same symbol outlined with a circle means there is nothing worth stealing in the property.
A capital D with a dash drawn in it indicates that burgling the house is too risky, while five circles in the shape of a star shows that a property is wealthy. Other marks reveal if a house is alarmed or has already been burgled. Salford police are now urging people who have noticed these symbols to take a picture and then wash them off the property as soon as possible.
Mystery chalk signs could be burglars' code for next target: Last week the symbols were seen on pavements and buildings and it is feared they may be a code telling thieves about properties. Concerned residents in Maidenbower and Three Bridges have reported seeing bright pink chalk markings left on pavements and the walls of homes. Such symbols have been known to be left by criminals wanting to indicate to other burglars whether a property is worth targeting or not. The marks can mean anything from "nothing worth stealing" to "good target" or "vulnerable person lives here".
Last week members of the Maidenbower Residents Group Facebook page reported spotting such markings near homes in Pallingham Drive, Tuxford Close, Chapman Road, Barber Close and Collingwood Road. Similar markings have also since been reported in West Way, Three Bridges. John Bowers has seen suspicious markings near his home in Gates Close, Maidenbower. He said: "Mysterious chalk symbols have been drawn at the entrance to the close. "We have had fibre broadband already installed in our road so I cannot believe it is for that, as some people have suggested. "It is weird. We are being vigilant."
Another Crawley resident, who asked not to be named, said she suspects this method was used to select the home of an elderly burglary victim in Tuxford Close in January. She said: "As far as I am concerned there is truth in these methods being used. "They have been around for a long time and I don't think the symbols or markings left are overly complicated.
"There was a man knocking on doors in Tuxford Close at the start of the year claiming to be a window cleaner, but without any proof of belonging to or running such a business. "They extract the detail they are after, such as whether there is an elderly person living there. After this round of door knocks a mark was seen outside the home of an elderly man."
Some people, though, have suggested that the markings have actually been left by utility companies preparing to carry out work. However, this is not the first time suspicious markings have been spotted in Crawley. In July 2013 Sussex Police launched an appeal after a home in the town was daubed with a symbol. A police spokeswoman said there have not been any recent burglaries in Crawley where chalk markings were found outside the homes. But she said anyone who sees something suspicious should call police.
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Hobo signs - Beginning in the 1880's and still today, hoboes place markings on fences, posts, signs, sidewalks, buildings, trestles, bridge abutments, trees and railroad line side equipment to aid them and others of their kind in finding help or steering them clear of trouble. Usually, these signs would be written in chalk or coal letting others know what they could expect in the area of the symbol.
These symbols can be used today or in an emergency to assist in finding fresh water or shelter or warning of danger. It is these symbols which can assist that we will cover and add a few of our own as should the need arise, a pictograph language for communication is one of the simplest and basic forms that allow all regardless of spoken language or education level to quickly grasp and use.
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