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Drive aims to stop students becoming victims
PLAIN-clothes police and special crime awareness packs will help new students avoid becoming victims of crime.
Police have launched Operation Bachelor as thousands of new undergraduates descend on the city.
It comes after concerns were raised about students being targeted when they arrive in a new and unknown place.
At a meeting of the East Oxford Forum last week, Green councillor David Williams said: “The students are often targets for calculating thieves because they’re quite naive when they arrive in the city.”
But councillors and residents at the meeting were reassured by Sgt Nathan Budd that the police operation would aim to clamp down on issues.
He said: “We’re running Operation Bachelor which spreads the message to all students about crime reduction.”
He said students would also be given crime prevention packs, and there would be information targeted at foreign students.
Det Sgt Pauline Heilbron added: “As part of crime prevention and awareness, Operation Bachelor will involve Thames Valley Police officers patrolling areas in plain clothes.
“Their aim is to check and assess building security. If they find a potential theft risk or an insecure premises, they will leave a card which outlines crime prevention advice.
“If officers on patrol find an open window or door showing items such as a laptop or iPod within easy reach, they will post a crime prevention card in through the window or door. “If this is a property belonging to a university or college the officers will also alert the appropriate security team.”
Oxford University crime reduction officer Norman Stewart said: “University security services are working hard with Thames Valley Police to reduce crime and fully support police initiatives such as Operation Bachelor.
“We also have information for students on the university website about the sensible precautions they can take to protect themselves and their property.
“Our message to university students and staff is that we need your help too, so if you see someone acting suspiciously please contact us or the police.”
Oxford University student union spokesman Sarah Santhosham said: “Oxford University Student Union has good relations with the police and work together on issues relating to student safety.
“Operation Bachelor is designed to make students more aware of their personal safety, preventing them from being victims of crime, a threat that is particularly prevalent when students return to Oxford.
“We welcome these initiatives as a means of ensuring students do not fall victim to crime while in Oxford.”