Student break-ins still dominating Leeds crime figures

Hyde Park

75% of reported Leeds burglaries are in student homes

Shocking new figures reveal that students are the victims of three-quarters of all recorded break-ins.

Traditionally a major percentage of all reported crime cases in Leeds have been student burglaries, with theft and criminal damage closely following, according to Leeds Observatory.

There have been 3,014 crime cases reported during the most recent 12 months, the council-run site reveals.

“75% of burglaries are in student areas”

Mark Fox, Police liaison officer at Leeds Beckett University says:

“Approximately 75% of burglaries are in student areas or accommodation, which is usually due to the vulnerability of students as well as location.”

Mark discusses the nature of these crimes and describes the offenders as “opportunists.”

“Most of the offenders of these student burglaries look for an opportunity or come across one, such as unlocked doors or windows left open, and if houses are left secure they will more than likely try their luck elsewhere.”

Victim of student burglary

Cardigan Lane Hyde Park – photograph by Ellie Gillard

Ellie Gillard, a 20-year-old student in Leeds was the victim of a burglary which happened in August 2019.

Ellie lives on Cardigan Lane in Hyde Park, along with two other students, one of whom was in the house at the time of the burglary.

Ellie recounts the incident:

“I had went out that evening at around 12:30am to go to a house party and soon after, at 1:30am, I received a phone call from my housemate to say that two men had come into her room and ran away when they realised she was there.

“My other housemate had opened the window to the living area earlier that day and forgot to close it before she went to sleep, and they had got in through there.”

Ellie agrees that a substantial amount of robbery in the area is the result of an open window or unlocked door, as many of the criminals are “opportunists and see an easy way in and take it.”

Chain Lock taken at the house of the crime – by Ellie Gillard

She lost a number of valuable items in the burglary. “They raided my room before going into my housemate’s room and then fleeing.

“I lost my new MacBook air which I had saved up for and my purse with my cards in, but luckily no money was in there. They did take a jar of money I had been collecting tips in for over a year which I think had between £700-1000 in it.”

Ellie says the burglary has affected her not only in terms of her financial and material loss but also emotionally:

“The burglary has really shaken me up. The first night after it happened I was alone in the house and was terrified to even leave the room, because I kept hearing noises and thinking they had came back to finish the job as they only managed to take stuff from my room. I had a really bad panic attack that night and I never usually have panic attacks or scare easy.”

Student burglary is so common, Ellie says: “It’s pretty much guaranteed that at least one person has been a victim in any given group of students.

“My friend Meg had the exact same thing happen to her last year. Her and her housemates were heading out and booked a taxi. The taxi driver had asked them if they were the only ones in the house to which she replied ‘yes’, and then when they came back home they had been burgled. It’s so common in Hyde Park.”

He works alongside the council with schemes such as ‘Safer Leeds’ which focuses primarily on prevention and how one can avoid putting themselves in a vulnerable position.

“It’s important to stress that there are several ways a person can avoid being perceived as vulnerable and therefore prevent the chances of being a victim, such as keeping windows and doors locked, not walking alone through a dark or concealed area. Are you wearing headphones and therefore unaware of approaching danger – and that sort of thing,” says Mark.

Find more information on how to keep safe at Safer Leeds.

About the Author

Christopher Boyle
Christopher Boyle is a third year journalism student at Leeds Beckett.

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