Campaign helps cut breakins
(23 January 2006)
Police in Durham are hailing the success of a sustained crime prevention campaign after the number of burglaries at student accommodation in the city dropped by almost half.
Latest figures show that 39 burglaries at houses and flats occupied by students have been recorded since March last year, 34 of which have been detected. During a similar period in the previous year 70 burglaries were reported but only 13 were detected. University liaison officer, PC Jeff Barksby, said: "Much has been done to reduce the risk of students becoming victims of burglary but, because each year students move out of halls of residence into houses and new students come to Durham to study it is an on-going process." Police sent letters to private landlords advising them to review the security of their properties, many of the houses are now fitted with burglar alarms and other security devices. The campaign also includes more general crime prevention advice, including posters in university buildings, shops and libraries urging students to keep laptops safe. "While it might not be too difficult to replace a laptop students need to bear in mind how difficult it would be to replace the work held on them once they are lost" said PC Barksby. 'Freshers' received academic diaries containing relevant information and advice, and ultra-violet marker pens to postcode their property so if it is stolen and recovered it can be returned to them. Police gave up to 20,000 bookmarks containing crime prevention advice and police contact numbers to the university and city council libraries for staff to give to everyone taking a book. Leaflets containing general crime prevention advice in a range of languages for international students have been widely circulated and information regarding Durham Constabulary is available on the university websites. In addition PC Barksby attends each college to carry out cycle postcoding and gives talks to students on both crime prevention and personal safety. "This has been a real team effort and the reduction is due to some excellent investigative and preventative work" said community Inspector Dick Dodds.