Students in Hyde Park got a nasty surprise this week when they were greeted by a hand reaching through their letterbox.
Fortunately for them, the frightening intrusion was only a ploy by West Yorkshire Police to encourage people not to leave their windows and doors unlocked.
Katy Richardson, a second-year Music student, described how her and her housemate “nearly peed ourselves” after encountering the flyer.
Police officers have tried to emphasise the importance of keeping houses secure to avoid burglary, but officers have told Leeds Student that despite being university educated, students are not too smart when it comes to the security of their houses.
One officer explained: “I got all the way to the top of one house where the front door was left open, and there was a girl in there, sat doing her hair. She hadn’t noticed. Anyone could have walked in.”
Another officer added: “We use different tactics, I’ve gathered laptops from a house that’s been left unlocked before and gone back out and knocked on the front door with them. It’s an effective way of shocking people into getting their act together.”
After a sharp rise in burglaries in the Hyde Park area during September, West Yorkshire Police have increased their efforts to ensure students do not fall victim to break-ins and theft.
These safety initiatives coincide with Knowledge week which takes place from the October 22 to 25.
Steve Whiting, Knowledge Project Coordinator, told this paper that their fundamental aim is “to make sure students know what’s going on to reduce crime”.
50 per cent of all burglaries are through an insecure door or window, allowing burglars to enter and leave properties with subtlety and ease. As Knowledge highlights, locking up when leaving the house is one of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of burglary: “A house without any visible means of entry will deter most opportunists”
Knowledge’s aim is to put students “in the mind-set of a burglar. We aim to show how many things of value there are in your house. Always keep your eyes out for yours and your friends’ stuff – don’t leave it in plain sight, and check it throughout the night.”
Words: Ellie Parkes