students aware they are being targeted for burglary across the University.
In an email sent to St John’s students, senior dean Dr William Whyte said: “Thames Valley Police have informed me that several students at colleges across the university – including our own – have become the victims of burglary in the last week.
“In almost all these cases, the criminals were able to enter student rooms through unlocked doors or open windows.”
According to one St John’s student, a fresher’s laptop was stolen in 1st week, along with a necklace. The police said the thief came in through a ground floor window at the back of the Beehive accommodation and that the door must have been left open.
A John’s representative said: “It’s very unusual to have robberies at St John’s. We regularly work with the police who inspect the college annually and do tests on the robustness of our security, and each year they say that we’re among the most secure of the colleges.”
Whyte said that every year the University “is greeted by a rise in crime when the students return”, before reasoning that the beginning of term leaves students far more vulnerable to crime as “sneak-thieves taking advantage of the fact that people are away from home for the first time”.
He added: “Although St John’s takes security very seriously, and does all it can to guarantee your safety and protect your property, it is vitally important that you lock your doors and close your windows whenever you leave your room, even for the shortest of time.”
While John’s students have reported items missing, other colleges within the same vicinity such as Regents Park had no knowledge of any such crimes against their students.
But students living out in Jericho have also been targeted by burglars. A second year, who did not want to be named, said: “We were broken into last Saturday night, and a laptop and speakers were stolen. It’s quite scary really, as one of us was actually asleep upstairs at the time.”
She added: “The police responded really quickly when we called, and hopefully the criminal will soon be caught.”
The police were unavailable for comment, although a warning on the Thames Valley Police website advises residents of West Oxford to “take measures to secure your property by paying attention to the security of your home”.
It says: “Make sure doors and windows are closed and secure before leaving your home. Add additional locks where appropriate, and remember not to leave any keys or valuables on display or in obvious places…
“Do not place valuable items by an open window, even if you are at home. Electrical goods such as laptops, cameras, mobile phones and music devices all feature as stolen items. Property marking is highly recommended.”
Anyone witnessing suspicious behaviour can report to 101, or if you see a crime in progress call 999. For more crime prevention advice, visit the Thames Valley Police Website http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/crprev/crprev-student.htm.