The accounts below are from students who’ve sadly fallen victim to crime in Leeds. Their stories demonstrate why the Knowledge project is so important, and why preventative measures such as locking windows and walking in well lit areas can make all the difference.
Robert Bethell was studying an MA in Applied Translation at Leeds Uni. His end-of-terrace in Woodhouse was burgled after having a house party.
I wasn't that surprised that we were burgled really, the party was a little out of control and the people who organised it were perhaps being a little naive about security. There were people in the street and the doors were open the whole time, anyone could have come in.
Although the party happened on the Friday night, the burglary wasn't in fact until around 7am the following morning while Robert and his housemates were asleep.
My housemate's laptop and digital camera were taken, otherwise nothing was damaged. After the incident the Police came to visit, but informed us that this was such a regular occurrence that there was very little chance of catching the culprit. The burglar probably gained access through a window that had been left open to air out the house after the night before
Since this happened we've been more careful about having parties and realise that a burglar can enter at any time, and was probably watching the party waiting on the off-chance that anyone left a window open. We're careful to not leave windows open and also don't leave any valuables in shared areas of the house anymore.
We always thought it would never happen to us. We’d heard of friends who’d been burgled and underestimated the disturbance that it caused.
We went downstairs one morning to find all the cupboard doors and the front door open. Two TVs, GHD straighteners, a Wii console with eight games, a laptop, a digital camera, £25 cash, our house keys and two sets of car keys were taken.
We’d opened a window when we came back from a night out and had forgotten to close it before we went to bed. We called the police and an officer came and took details of what had happened. She told us that another four houses had been broken into on our street that night. She also said that usually the thieves aren’t caught. The forensics police came later on to lift finger and foot prints.
Thankfully all the items taken were covered on everyone’s parents’ insurances, as we’d decided not to take out our own cover. The landlord was understanding and got our locks changed straightaway. We also moved the cars to another area in fear that the burglars would come back for them as they’d taken the keys.
Later that night the police called to say they’d caught two of the five thieves. The police came with the laptop and the TV in a police evidence bag for us to identify. We made statements and now have to wait and see whether they are proven guilty.
Although everyone was very supportive, we can’t forget that someone came into our house and went through all of our things, breaking items to get to what they wanted. Although we can claim things on the insurance we’re still having to get by without them for the time being, and the laptop and TV are being kept by the police as vital evidence so we’re unsure when they will be returned. We have all learnt our lesson now and never leave rooms with the windows open!