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New students get guidance on security
Police will be manning stalls during Freshers’ Week at the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University to give out helpful tips to the thousands of young people moving to the city to study.
They will be offering advice about planning how to get home after a night out and not walking alone to the easy steps to take to limit the chance of falling prey to opportunist burglars or registering bikes and other property.
Guidance is also being issued by the University of Southampton’s student union which will be publishing and handing out a student survival guide.
It comes after the Daily Echo revealed on Saturday that students brings £344m a year to the city’s economy, almost on a par with the £350m contributed by the cruise industry.
Annually police brace themselves for a rise in burglaries when students return to the city, with a large number of shared homes due to Southampton having two universities.
Detectives say opportunist thieves are on the lookout for open windows and unlocked doors so they can carry out their crime quickly and discreetly.
Already last week there were two multi occupancy homes targeted during just one night.
In one incident, a thief got into a house in Blenheim Gardens, Portswood, having climbed in through an upstairs window via a flat roof extension. Once inside he almost came face to face with a student as he opened their bedroom door at 1.15am on Tuesday.
Police say the man, who was 6ft and wearing a black shiny three-quarter length coat, a dark top and trousers, quickly fled empty handed when he realised someone was home.
The other happened in Thackeray Road, St Denys, between 1am and 9am that morning, when the burglar is thought to have got in through a window. He helped himself to a Sony laptop, black Ipad mini, black Gucci wallet containing £100 and a second wallet with around £500 inside. All of the items had been left on a desk in a bedroom.
Detective Sergeant Paul Harrison, from Bitterne CID where the crimes are being investigated, said: “As students start to arrive in Southampton for the first time or indeed return for a new term, I would urge them to ensure they take obvious steps to protect their property – they need to be vigilant and follow the basics.
“Keep downstairs windows shut, even if you are only out of the room for five minutes. Keep valuables out of sight and be aware of who is in your house.
“If you don’t recognise someone don’t assume they are a friend of someone you live with – challenge them.”
He added: “The majority of burglaries happen because homes are insecure and the main things to go are laptops, mobile phones, Ipods and other small electrical items.
“I’d also remind students to ensure they back up their coursework because the impact of losing that will be a lot greater than the item itself in the long run.”
Students concerned about security at their new homes are urged to conta
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