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Northumbria Police are delivering pizza boxes to student doors. It’s not a second job, but to bring a message. The pizza boxes contain a takeaway menu containing crime prevention advice and a warning message – “this time it’s an empty pizza box, next time it could be an empty home”. Police believe thieves could be targeting student properties in areas such as Heaton and Jesmond – some with doors and windows unlocked.
Hence the campaign now as police often see a spike in burglaries at student properties over the summer when properties are left empty, and insecure.
Inspector Steve Wykes said police will continue to work with both Newcastle’s universities, Newcastle and Northumbria. He said: “Burglaries to student properties is something that has been an ongoing challenge for police in Newcastle for a number of years. We have two brilliant universities in the city and our student population is one of the many things that contributes to the fantastic atmosphere that makes it such a great place to live.
“It is very important to us that students feel safe during their time in the Northumbria force area and that they don’t find themselves falling victims to crime. We have a number of positive initiatives in place to engage with students and we enjoy a great relationship with both the universities.
“However, we do find that many students are still not engaging with police or listening to the advice we provide to them to keep themselves safe. When it comes to burglary we can take a number of preventative measures but if students are leaving doors and windows open then they will be targeted by opportunistic thieves.
“This campaign is about trying something a little bit different to get people talking and to engage students so that they can safeguard themselves against burglary.”
The campaign is backed by both universities. Marc Lintern, Director of Employability and Student Success at Newcastle University, said: “We work closely with Northumbria Police to ensure that our students have a good understanding of personal safety as well as their responsibilities when living in residential areas. We hope that initiatives such as this will really grab attention, and act as a reminder to keep possessions safe.”
And Sue Broadbent, Head of Student Support and Wellbeing at Northumbria, said: “The safety and security of our students is our number one priority as a university. We know that this time of year there can be a rise in burglaries as students head off for the summer. I would encourage all students to take a moment before they leave to make sure all their windows and doors are secure. It will only a take a few minutes but it will be a few minutes well spent!”
Ronnie Reid, President of the Student Union at Newcastle, said he had friends who had been victims of burglary in Heaton and Jesmond. He said: “I absolutely fully support the campaign launched today because it is really there to raise awareness of what is a really prominent issue in residential areas in the East End. It is there to creatively inform students of the impacts of burglaries and the impact it can have on their possessions but doing it in a creative way by using pizza boxes.
“There have been 32 incidents in 30 days so clearly it is a prominent issue and I have spoken to a number of students who have been victims of burglary. Hopefully we can give them practical advice to stop this happening to them.”
Follow updates on the campaign by searching the hashtag #SliceOfAdvice on Twitter.