Snatches on the rise

Police are looking for witnesses after a string of snatch thefts occurred in and around Oxford’s city centre recently.

A press release by the Thames Valley Police indicated that police were looking to “link a string of thefts” that occurred between Friday of 0th Week and Friday of 3rd Week, all after dark.

Detective Superintendent Pauline Heilbron from Oxford police station said that the robberies had tended to happen in “well lit and populated areas such as quieter footpaths”.

According to the statement, the thief generally “cycles up behind the victims and grabs their phones, iPods etc from their hands before cycling off”.

Police are looking into the possibility that this string of crimes may be the result of one individual, as the thief always wears “a hooded top with the hood up”.

It is hoped that witnesses will enable officers to gain a clearer understanding of the incidents, including assessing whether the crimes follow a clear pattern.

Although few details are known about the identities of the victims, they are mostly under 30, with the youngest targeted aged 16.

Students at the University are frequently targets of petty crime, with bike theft being especially prevalent. A warning concerning the thefts was circulated to Somerville students.

Regent’s Park student Lucy Clarke, who had her brand new bike stolen at the end of 1st Week, commented: “Being the victim of crime is a really upsetting experience. When my bike was stolen, it knocked me sideways – I called my dad and cried down the phone for half an hour. If someone rode up behind me and took my phone while I was using it, I would be furiously angry, but also pretty scared.”

Studies show that students at Oxford are some of the most likely to be the victims of criminal activity among UK universities. The Complete University Guide ranks Oxford the 8th worst university for crime in England and Wales, but has the highest number of robberies per 1000 people of any of the top 10 crime-prone universities.