The Heslington Road area has been affected by a series of burglaries in recent weeks. Second and third-year students living in rented accommodation have been affected by an increase in crime in Heslington and Fishergate.
In response to the rise in off- campus burglaries, University students have been warned by Chief Inspector Dave Hannan, 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. If you make life difficult for them they are much less likely to target your home and belongings.” He reiterated the importance of hiding valuables and leaving a light on when you go out at night.”
Most of the thefts have involved bicycles stolen from student accommodation. In one of the most serious incidents, two high value bikes worth thousands each were stolen from a locked shed in the Tang Hall area.
Although the student house targeted was secure, the thieves gained access two doors along through a wooden side gate, jumped over the fence and broke into the shed. They subsequently attempted to enter the house but were unsuccessful. The student affected believes that they may have been followed and watched, as there was a very short time period for the burglars to strike.
One second-year student described how they had seen men testing whether bikes were properly locked up on campus during the early hours of the morning.
North Yorkshire Police have stepped up their efforts to prevent crime. Officers are carrying out high visibility patrols at night and letters have been sent out to warn students in the affected areas.
First year students in Halifax and Derwent Colleges have recently been affected by crime. Over the last month, youths have been spotted trying to steal bikes and have been successful on several occasions. At the start of the year Vanbrugh JCRC‘s television was stolen.
Security is a key concern, and there is currently a Safer Campus survey online
Bob Hughes, YUSU Welfare Officer.
Student Welfare Officer Bob Hughes said safety on campus was a priority, “Security is a key concern, and there is currently a Safer Campus survey online about lighting and safety, mentioned on my YUSU blog.”
Hughes added the blog “will help inform a lot of our work regarding safety across the University, especially in finding out where the key areas are and what can be done to tackle any issues, whether through additional patrols or through more CCTV and lighting provision.”
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. There has been no rise in burglaries across campus recently. The number so far this term – four—is the same as for the corresponding period in 2010.”
Despite the recent increase in off campus 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.