Students warned not to leave ‘gifts’ for criminals

The new police officer at Lancaster University, PC Ben Rooke.
The new police officer at Lancaster University, PC Ben Rooke.
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Students are being asked not to leave ‘gifts’ for criminals this Christmas by following some easy crime prevention tips before they head home for the festive break.

The Neighbourhood Policing Teams at Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus are now asking those going home for the Christmas and New Year period to take a number of precautions that could prevent them falling victim to crime while they are away.

PC Ben Rooke, one of the dedicated officers for the Lancaster University campus, said: “Leaving items, like your TV or computer equipment, in your university accommodation, especially if it is out on show, is like leaving a gift for a criminal.

“Coming back to university and finding your flat has been broken into is not the best start to the New Year – so take a few moments to protect both yourself and your personal property from criminals.”

Students are being advised;

•If you can, take your valuables home with you. If not, make sure they are locked away out of sight. Many storage companies offer special student rates if you need somewhere secure.

•Make sure your room door, windows and the door to your accommodation are closed and locked when you leave. Take your keys home with you – just remember to bring them back again!

•Mark your property with UV kits. Your university Neighbourhood Policing Team should be able to help. This will make items easier to return if they are stolen and then later recovered by police.

•Let your halls manager, college porters or landlord know that you are going home and when you are returning. Also, if possible, give them a telephone number they can contact you on while you are away.

•If you anticipate being away for some time, cancel or redirect your mail, especially bank statements. Mail that piles up is a sign that no one is home; while bank statements can be used to steal your identity.

•A timer switch that turns on lights at specific times can give the impression that someone is in, even when they are not.

The end of term can also be a cause for celebration. If you are planning a few nights out before you head home, make sure you stay safe while doing so. The Sugarhouse and some other nightclubs still offer free buses back to the Lancaster University campus with the usual stops along the way, and licensed taxis will also get you back safely.

Students are also advised to;

•Stick to well-lit main routes when making your way home.

•If you go out as a group of friends, please stick together to stay safe.

•If one person wants to go home early, make sure they will get there in one piece, or if you are disappearing (for whatever reason), tell someone where you are going and with whom.

•Never walk home alone.

•Keep enough money for a taxi. Don’t spend your last fiver on a burger. Get home safe instead!

Take care of your cash, and only take out what you will realistically need for the night. Avoid using cash machines at night too if you can– it is not worth the risk.