University of York students have been warned about the need to keep their homes secure, after it emerged there had been an increase in burglaries and thefts from off-campus student accommodation.
Second and third year students living in rented housing have been affected by an increase in crime in Heslington and Fishergate over the last few months.
There have been eight reported thefts in the Heslington area and nine in Fishergate since the beginning of the University term in October.
Most of these have involved bicycles stolen from their accommodation.
University students have been warned by Chief Inspector Dave Hannan, of York Safer Neighbourhood Command to avoid leaving doors, windows and gates open as this can provide a clear opportunity for criminals.
Inspector Hannan commented: “Thieves are lazy and opportunistic, they like an easy ride. If you make life difficult for them they are much less likely to target your home and belongings.
“If a thief sees an opportunity he will be in, so make sure you do everything you can to secure your property. Ensure the last one out locks the door; keep laptops, phones and MP3 players hidden from view and leave a light on when you go out at night.”
In response to the rise in thefts North Yorkshire Police have stepped up their efforts to prevent crime with officers carrying out high visibility patrols at night.
In addition to this letters have been sent out to properties in the affected areas urging York students to protect their homes and belongings.
First year students have also been affected by thieves and Halifax College has become a target. Over the last two weeks youths have been spotted on several occasions trying to steal bikes and at least one bike has been taken.
A spokesperson for the University reiterated the advice of North Yorkshire Police, saying: “Students should always leave their unattended property secure. In relation to cycles it is advisable to use good quality locks when securing them.”
Despite the recent increase in burglaries, overall crime in the Heslington area has dropped by 50 per cent compared to this time last year, with theft down 64 per cent. Fishergate also experienced a drop in crime of 16 per cent, with theft down by four per cent.