Leeds has had, for several years now, fairly high burglary rates compared to the rest of the country, coming third in the national statistics. Leeds student property is a popular target for burglars due to the generally lax security of student tenants and the attractive modern gadgets they possess. Around this time of year, West Yorkshire Police tend to see a spike in the number of burglaries committed, particularly in the vulnerable student houses left vacant over the Christmas holidays.
But many burglars don’t bother to wait until the students are gone to strike, as they fear all the best goodies will be taken home. A Leeds University student was burgled on 12th November in Headingley, near Carnegie Stadium. He said, “This is the first time I’ve been broken into, but I know several of my friends who also live in Headingley have been robbed too.”
Headingley, an area that has become synonymous with student housing, is a regular hotspot for burglar activity, although this year has seen a 57% drop from 2011. The West Yorkshire Police, however, do not take this as a signal to relax policing in the area. Simon Brooksbank, Neighbourhood Inspector for the Headingley area said, “A major piece of work for us is reducing burglaries. Already this year there has been 140 less offences than this time last year, but I still have aspirations to reduce this further.”
He also stated in an interview with the Yorkshire Post that forty percent of their burglary cases are through insecure doors and windows.
According to the data on Spot Crime, there have been 41 burglaries committed in the Hyde Park area in the past four months. In the same time frame there were 20 reported in Headingley and 35 in the Burley area. The total number of reported burglaries has been reduced in all three areas over the past two years, however, the rates are still above the national average.
Burglars in West Yorkshire are opportunists, striking households that are poorly protected. There are a number of simple but effective things you can do to deter criminals from attempting entry to your Leeds student property:
Lock your doors and windows, including chain restrictor. Get into the habit of locking up every time you enter or exit the property. It may seem paranoid to be locking up even if you are inside, but doing so develops a habit, meaning you are less likely to mistakenly forget to lock up when you go out.
Draw your curtains when the sun goes down. Make sure no valuables are visible from outside the property.
When leaving for the Christmas holidays, take all valuable items back with you if you can.
Burglar alarms are a major headache for burglars, so make sure you know how to operate it.
Is the main entrance to your property well lit? It doesn’t necessarily need its own external light; it just needs to be visible, as this is very off-putting for burglars who prefer who work under the cover of darkness.
It is recommended by the police that you leave a light on inside the property if you go out after dark. This can indeed add a few pounds to the electricity bill, but is absolutely worth it for the security it provides.
It is paramount that you make sure your Leeds student property is secure, as many insurance companies will refuse to pay out if your home is burgled while insecure.
The student areas of Leeds are home to an estimated 60,000 students, offering a massive selection for burglars. Student Support Officer Judith Atkinson, specialising in community living at Leeds Trinity said, “We also send out warnings at this time of year because last year there was a lot of burglaries reported, not just here at Trinity but at Leeds Metropolitan and Leeds University also. Our student support team can provide financial help, offer students counselling and inform student’s academic tutors if they have been a victim of this sort of crime.”
Because we are concerned about the high burglary rates in vulnerable areas, Let-Leeds will be fitting anti-snap locks to all properties over the next 12 months to give our tenants added security!