Monday 22 July 2024
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Joint police operation to protect Nottingham students from burglary

Nottinghamshire Police showed its continued determination to ‘beat the burglars’ by taking part in a proactive joint operation warning students to be vigilant against opportunist thieves.

Officers from the force’s dedicated city burglary team as well as uniformed officers teamed up with University of Nottingham student ambassadors and Nottingham City Council officers as they hit the streets in Lenton and Radford.

They knocked on doors, engaging with residents and providing crime prevention advice in hot-spot areas believed to be those most at risk of burglary.

2 Beat the burglars one

On Tuesday – the third day of the latest ‘Love your stuff’ #beattheburglar campaign – police officers and university ambassadors engaged with students and residents living in the Lenton area.

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They handed out crime prevention information and gave advice to students, including ensuring they check their doors and windows are locked when they go out or go to bed.

 

Leaflets shaped like a burglar’s hand were left at some addresses found to have been left unsecured – to warn occupants their homes were vulnerable to burglary.

Among those given advice was a student who had left his door wide open, with a bike left unlocked at the bottom of the stairs.

Detective Constable Kathryn Lucock said: “I shouted ‘police’ three or four times before the occupant came downstairs. The bike was left unsecured in the hallway and could easily have been taken.”

Officers also found easily accessible windows of other properties had been left open, potentially providing an open invitation to burglars, and left one of the burglar’s hand leaflets on a bike found unlocked in an exposed back garden.

The burglary prevention campaign was well received by students living in the area.

University of Nottingham student William Stephen said: “It’s a good thing to raise awareness and it’s good to know there are people out and about in the area checking on this.”

Fellow student Adi Abdiu added: “I know a few people in this area who have had things stolen. I think providing and sharing crime prevention advice is very important, especially if people live in a student-populated area. I’m sure burglars circulate to see if the can find any insecurities they can exploit.”

Alex Lumley-Smith, who is studying at the University of Nottingham, said: “Students may have come here from quieter areas, such as the countryside, where they might think it’s fine to leave their doors and windows unlocked. Campaigns like this raise people’s awareness of the issues and hopefully give them an extra push to be more vigilant.”

Student ambassadors Hui Ying and Ashish Mishra were among those giving crime prevention advice on people’s doorsteps. Hui said: “It’s good to be out helping people and communicating with them. The reaction we’ve had has been really positive. People we’ve spoke to have been friendly and understand we’re here to help them.”

Detective Inspector Kayne Rukas, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Burglary is a really upsetting crime for victims and we know it can have a significant and long-lasting impact on victims, both financially and emotionally.

“It must be horrible to find that someone has been into your house, where you should feel safe, and taken your belongings.

“That’s why we work so hard as a force to keep people safe and prevent this type of crime from happening in the first place by engaging with residents and sharing tips to help them avoid falling victim to opportunist burglars.

“The most important thing to prevent burglaries is to make sure your house is secure by locking doors and windows as the large majority of burglaries are committed by an offender entering via an insecurity.

“While we continue to do everything we can to reduce burglary we also need people to help us by acting as further eyes and ears in their areas.

“If you spot something suspicious and providing that you are in a safe location, try to take note of what a person is wearing or any distinctive features they have that could help officers as a part of their investigation. It could be that they have a particular hairstyle or if they have an accomplice, or a car that they are driving.”

Nottinghamshire Police has two proactive burglary teams which are committed to tackling this type of crime as well as supporting victims.

Their ongoing work has contributed towards a 38 per cent drop in house burglaries across Nottinghamshire compared to two years ago, with crime already going down before Covid.

Nottinghamshire Police also recently appointed a specialist burglary reduction officer to help prevent offences from happening.

Neighbourhood Inspector Paul Ferguson added: “Despite our joint efforts to ensure our student communities are a crime-free as possible, we still need students to remain vigilant and make sure they take the necessary steps to protect themselves.

“Student properties can be targeted by burglars due to them being left insecure and also having numerous occupants meaning rich pickings for the burglar.

“We’d urge students to check their door and window locks are working correctly and remember to make sure they keep their doors and windows locked at all times, especially if their rooms are on the ground floor.

“Students living in multi-occupancy properties should work together to ensure they all take responsibility for keeping their home secure.

“Make sure that valuables, including cash, phones or electrical items, are kept out of sight to any passers-by and the keys to your property and vehicles are kept in a safe place out of sight and well away from your letterbox.”

Jamie Dickinson, off campus student affairs manager at the University of Nottingham, said: “Ensuring off campus student residents are safe and secure is really important and that is why we work closely with Nottinghamshire Police on campaigns such as ‘Love Your Stuff’ and ‘Beat the Burglar’.

“Our student ambassadors deliver key crime prevention messages through peer-to-peer conversations and reinforce this with information flyers and message bugs and can provide equipment such as window alarms.

“Where insecurities are identified, student addresses will receive a follow-up information email.

“During the course of this campaign, our team of staff and ambassadors will have engaged with hundreds of properties across Lenton and Radford as we look to help reduce crime in these areas.”

Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for neighbourhoods, safety and inclusion, councillor Neghat Khan, said: “We support the police throughout the year in their efforts to prevent burglaries – efforts which are having a really positive effect on reducing the number of people becoming victims of this unpleasant and upsetting crime.

“Our community protection officers carry out reassurance patrols in these areas throughout the year and will provide crime prevention advice to students and landlords if they spot issues.

“They also go house-to-house to speak to residents eligible for target hardening measures such as doorbell cameras and property marking schemes and advise on how to apply for them and how to sign up for neighbourhood alerts. We’re pleased to continue to support the police and the universities in protecting students who sadly can be particularly vulnerable to burglaries.”

Some other advice for students, including how to protect their property, includes:

* When you’re away from home use a timer switch to operate the lights to make it appear your property is occupied. Drawing the curtains or closing blinds, preventing people from looking into your home, can also help make a difference.

* Contents Insurance – make sure you take out the relevant insurance

* Never share access codes to your house/flat/halls with non-residents and don’t let anyone in without checking their identity first.

* Frequently back up your data (university work, contact lists and photos) to an online back-up service, memory stick or external hard drive.

* If you are living off campus make sure your accommodation has good quality window and door locks and a working alarm.

* If you see somebody acting suspiciously report it to the police immediately by calling 101 or, in an emergency, call 999.

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