Hello all and thanks for reading what will be a regular feature of the I LOVE SELLY OAK website between now and the end of the academic year. The aim of this blog is to provide the community around Selly Oak, particularly Bournbrook with updates on policing activity in the area and encourage more of you to engage with your local police team, Guild of Students and your neighbours!
I’ll start with the last point, your neighbours, do you know them? If not, then why not? I think the best advice we could give to students living in Bournbrook, other than making sure your doors and windows are shut and locked (even when you’re in – I’ll expand on this later), is to treat your rented house as though you had bought it. It’s highly likely that whatever part of the country you live in you’ll know your neighbours – why should university living be any different? The benefits of knowing your neighbour mean that you won’t walk past their house without paying it any attention, you’ll relate that house to a person and if there is a door or window open or something that looks suspicious or out of place, such as an alarm going off, you will be more likely to knock on the door to make sure everything is ok or even call the police if needs be. Give it some thought – you might just prevent a crime by saying hello and getting to know your neighbours!
Onto a crime update now, since the start of the academic year my team have been visiting student houses in Bournbrook to install door and window alarms along with marking your property making it less attractive to would be burglars. So far we’ve managed to install crime reduction items at over 200 houses – the team will be out tonight, shoulder to shoulder with the Guild Community Wardens knocking on your door and asking to install our burglary packs and mark your property. We will continue this initiative throughout the first semester!
One of the overwhelming things I hear when I speak to a house full of students is the feeling that crime, especially burglary, is really prevalent in the area – let me be clear about this, burglary in Bournbrook is currently at the lowest levels we have seen for many years. The riskiest period for burglary in Selly Oak tends to be between fresher’s week and the Christmas period, this period last year saw record low levels of burglary which was a real testament to the strong partnership we have with the Guild of Students and the University of Birmingham. So far this academic year, we have built on the tactics in place last year and reduced burglary by over 60% in September and this month to date by 30%. Again, I can’t stress enough the need to make sure your doors, windows and side alley gating are all secure and locked. When you go out remember to leave your lights on and a TV or radio switched on, it all adds to the illusion that you are in – a far less appealing target for a burglar.
Over the weekend we saw a house on Selly Hill Road targeted by a burglary offender who accessed the premises from the rear, climbed onto a flat roof and entered a rear bedroom through an open window where they stole a laptop – this just highlights the need to keep windows, doors and especially side alleyway gating locked! If you gating is broken or the locks don’t work please get in touch with us and we will ask the local charity who maintain the gating network to come out and fix things!
You’ll have noticed the #deepbreath campaign that is being supported by the local police through the PUBWATCH forum. I will expand in greater detail on the first few weeks results in next weeks wrap up, there have been a few negative comments around this initiative but let me assure you now that there is no agenda here – especially as far as the FAB nights at the Guild are concerned. #deepbreath is designed to raise the awareness of alcohol harm and assist the police and community in reducing the number of victims of violent crime – nothing more, nothing less. It’s something that’s helped to keep the community safe in other areas of the country and will run until the end of 2014 where we will analyse the results and assess whether this is something that could be rolled out full time.
I’ll leave you with the good news that Robbery and Vehicle Crime are seeing year on year reductions of well over 20% and that total crime (everything we record) is also showing a reduction of over 3%. Although burglary is under control at the moment the risk remains and could change if we don’t stay vigilant and make it more difficult for offenders to access properties.
Enjoy the rest of your week and follow the team @sellyoakpolice on twitter for daily updates.
T/Sergeant 5062 Simon Williams.