'Who's locked up?' Burglary awareness campaign launched for local students

‘Who’s Locked Up?’ is a question that Dorset Police, Bournemouth University (BU), Students Union Bournemouth University (SUBU) the Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), Arts University Bournemouth Students Union (AUBSU) and Student Community Wardens will be asking the local population in Winton this week, as part of a burglary awareness campaign.

The campaign, which is based on art work designed by AUB student, Mike Smith, aims to educate people who attend Bournemouth University and the Arts University Bournemouth, to protect their possessions, property and themselves.

Opportunistic thieves often target student areas, as they know high value goods are often left unattended and near an unlocked window or door. With high footfall in and out of houses, students are being advised to check doors and windows and remain vigilant.

PCSO Majid Samadi and PC Andy Scarratt, part of the universities’ Safer Neighbourhood Team at Dorset Police, work closely with the universities, the student unions and the student community wardens and are keen for the 'Who’s Locked Up?' message to resonate with locals.

A number of activities are taking place to ensure students and local residents remain aware of burglary in the local area including a Student Community Wardens video property marking events and a door-to-door campaign to give out free crime reduction advice and window stickers.

Majid Samadi, PCSO of Winton, said: “Unfortunately, every year students are victims of burglary. It’s an intrusive crime and is not a pleasant experience for anyone.

“We want students to be safe, so we’re trying to change their mind-set and get them into the habit of locking up, whether they’re in their property or not.

“We actively encourage people to properly mark their valuables, by using a UV pen and also installing tracking software and firmware on their tablets and mobile phones.

“We aim to detect and deter these offences, but students can prevent themselves falling foul to opportunist thieves by taking the first basic step and simply locking up the house before leaving it.

“An open door or window is unwittingly an open invitation to criminals.”

“The awareness campaign and window stickers will hopefully remind people to spare a second to turn a key and keep thieves out.”

Chloe Schendel-Wilson, SUBU President said: “I think this is a great campaign to really raise awareness to students about their safety, as well as highlighting generally who the wardens are and how they can help students whilst in the community.

“So many students go through their time in their student homes without any support, so doing campaigns like this can really benefit them along the way.”

Dan Broadbent, SU President at AUB , added: “We recognise the importance of student safety and burglary concerns and we are keen to make our students aware of these issues.

“Hopefully the direct communication and measures we put in place with the support of the Safer Neighbourhood Team and SUBU combined, will help us work towards combatting these areas as effectively as possible.”

Head of Regional Community Partnerships at Bournemouth University, Ian Jones, is also keen to see a reduction in the number of burglarly offences. He said: “Community is very important to Bournemouth University and we encourage all our students to be good citizens.

“It also important that our students remain safe and the 'Who's Locked Up?' campaign is an example of how we work closely with our stakeholders to run effective campaigns that make a difference to all.”

Councillor Pat Oakley said: “Many Students are living away from home for the first time and taking responsibility for the security of their personal property, which is a key part of that independence.

“The local police, the Student Unions and our student wardens are there to support our local community.”

Burglary offences in the Winton area of Bournemouth doubled for the academic year of 2013-2014 compared to 2012-2013. Between September 2012 and August 2013, Dorset Police recorded 25 burglaries. Between September 2013 and August 2014, the number rose to 58. For the period of September 2014 – January 2015, there have been 29 offences recorded.

Students can contact their Dorset Police officers by emailing police@bournemouth.ac.uk and by following them on twitter @universitiesSNT

Regular property marking events are held on campus and they also hold drop-in sessions, which will be advertised around the universities.

PCSO Majid Samaid and PC Andy Scarratt are holding property marking events on campus at 10am-12pm on Tuesday 24th in Poole House Atrium and on Thursday 26th in the AUB Refectory.

On Wednesday 25th February, the ‘Walk around Winton’ campaign will also take place, where partner agencies will interact with students by going door-to-door, giving out free crime reduction advice and window stickers.

Issued 25 February 2015

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