Burglars spot rich pickings

April 18, 2003

A third of students were victims of crime in the past year - 5 percentage points above the national average - according to Home Office figures, writes Alan Thomson.

The figures published this week also show that six out of ten crimes against students affected those who had already been victims of crime.

But despite the high incidence of crimes against students and their property, some 60 per cent of incidents went unreported.

One in eight students was a victim of theft or attempted theft and 10 per cent had had their accommodation broken into.

Four per cent of students had been stalked in the past year, although the Home Office said that the proportion could have been skewed upwards because of the small survey sample of 315 students from seven universities and colleges in the East Midlands.

The National Union of Students blamed the high level of burglary on the state of student accommodation, which is nearly always multiple occupancy, meaning burglars can expect to find stereos, computers, TVs and other goods to steal.

NUS president Mandy Telford also blamed unscrupulous landlords for the vulnerability of some student accommodation.

CRIME TOLL

During the past year:

* 33 per cent of students were victims of crime

* 12 per cent werevictims of theft or attempted theft

* 10 per cent were victims of burglary

* Six in ten crimes were experienced by repeat victims

* 4 per cent of students were stalked

* 60 per cent of incidents were not reported to the police

* The government, working with bodies including the National Union of Students and Universities UK, has set up a working group to look at crime against students and a crime reduction website at www.good2bsecure.co.uk

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