The PSNI has issued a warning to students moving into south Belfast to protect their belongings from burglars.
“Student houses tend to have multiple tenants — that’s why thieves see them as a great target. For them, it’s maximum gain with minimum effort,” said a police spokesman.
“It is important that all students, but particularly ‘Freshers’ who are new to university life, take sensible precautions to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime.”
The spokesman some simple steps can be taken to avoid becoming a victim of crime:
l Over 50 percent of burglaries happen because a door or window has been left open, so lock up properly each time you go out and if there is an alarm, set it.
l Keep bank cards and cheque books separate; keep a note of your card details so you can cancel them quickly.
l Always lock your car, never leave the keys in the ignition and don’t leave valuables unattended in the vehicle whether it is parked on or off campus .
l Mark your property with the initials of your university and your student ID number — this makes it hard for a burglar to sell stolen goods and can help the police to return any recovered items to you.
l Be vigilant with your mobile phone — if it is stolen, contact the police and inform your network provider.
l Don’t be an easy target. Walk in groups at night, stay with friends or travel by taxi. Remember that your safety is worth more than the cab fare home.
l Don’t leave drinks unattended
l If possible, use cash machines in daylight, be aware of your surroundings and never write down your PIN.
l If you are having a night out, use timer switches to switch lights on, and make your flat look occupied in the evenings and at the weekends.
l Your own safety is the most important consideration. But remember — lock up before you leave, take your valuable items home at weekends and during the holidays, and make sure your property is secure.
l Developing positive relationships with neighbours can play a vital role in ensuring any suspicious activity is reported — for example, while you are away for the weekend or on holiday.