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Police in Southampton are helping students minimise the risk of becoming victims of crime following seven burglaries at student properties in the Polygon area of the city.
In four days, burglars struck at multiple-occupancy dwellings in Cromwell Road, Kenilworth Road, Wilton Avenue, Morris Road, Newcombe Road and Coventry Road. This has raised concerns that student properties are being targeted specifically because of their 'rich pickings'.
Many of these properties were insecure providing the opportunist burglar with easy access. Once inside the property, the offenders have helped themselves to seven laptops, several games consoles, a 32 inch television, plus purses and wallets containing cash and personal documents including bank cards.
Detective Sergeant Sharon Austin who is leading on Operation Saxon said:
"Our biggest concern is how easily these crimes are being committed due to household insecurities. We therefore advocate to all residents, but especially students living in multiple-occupancy homes, to review their security and implement measures to help protect each other from becoming victims of crime. This is even more important with many students leaving the area in the coming weeks at the end of the current semester.
"In this latest spate of burglaries we have found that some of the stolen laptops contained vital research and course work which has left the student with the heartache of having to start all over again and possibly missing crucial deadlines to hand their work in."
To enable students in particular, but everyone in general, officers investigating these burglaries are offering the following crime prevention advice:
-Mark possessions with your postcode using a UV pen or standard permanent marker. Also, note and record the serial numbers, make and model and even photograph the item to assist in identifying it if it's stolen.
-Register your possessions for free on http://www.immobilise.com The police use this to reunite stolen or lost property with owners.
-Make sure you lock all doors and windows before leaving and don't rely on other housemates to do this. It's your responsibility as much as theirs and they won't thank you if your neglect allows their property to be stolen.
-If you live on the ground floor, don't leave anything of value on display and never leave these items near an open window and try to ensure you keep doors and windows locked when not in your room, even for few minutes.
-Don't let strangers follow you into your hall/house
-Back-up coursework and keep it on memory sticks or burnt to disks to help recover the work if your laptop is stolen.
-Get to know your neighbours. If you're on good terms with each other they'll look out for your property and you for theirs.
-Report any suspicious people or vehicles in the neighbourhood to the police on 101, especially during hours of darkness.
-High visibility and covert police patrols are being carried out in the wider Polygon area to help reduce offences, identify offenders and reassure members of the public.
Anyone with information about these burglaries or the whereabouts of the stolen property is asked to phone Shirley CID on 101.