Students live in fear in crime capital

January 26, 2001

Leeds is the crime capital of Britain, according to the British Crime Survey of 2000. And the worst places are the streets where students live.

Final-year undergraduate Emma Hawkridge lives in Chestnut Avenue, Headingley. Her front door is secured by an iron grille that is kept locked 24 hours a day.

"They say this is the most burgled street in Europe," she said.

Ms Hawkridge and housemate Gillian Roe are worried about getting a firework through their letterbox, a common local "prank". Recently, they witnessed an armed robbery at their corner shop.

"I don't feel at all safe at night," Ms Roe said.

The house next door to the students was burgled last week. The students say they would feel more comfortable if there was a police presence in the area, which is just a quarter of a mile from the university campus.

"We have to put up with it because this is where the cheap housing is," Ms Hawkridge said.

The city centre can also be dangerous. Leeds Metropolitan student Jon Finlay was tied up during a robbery that took place as he arrived at a nightclub on Monday morning for a job interview.

West Yorkshire police said some of their clear-up rates are above the national average, with 66 per cent of violent crimes being solved compared with 63 per cent nationally.

  • Students are less likely to be victims of crime than the rest of the population, according to last week's MORI/Unite Student Living Report . It found that 22 per cent of students had been victims of crime. The British Crime Survey of 2000 found 30 per cent of the population were victims of crime during 1999.

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