There were 464 burglaries in DH1 during Michaelmas term

And this is how you can protect your house

Durham Constabulary reports that between the months of September 2022 and December 2022, there were 464 burglaries and thefts in the DH1 area alone. This works out as over 25 a week.

The Tab conducted this research after a host of posts on the Facebook group Urban Angels, designed for the safety of female and non-binary students, described burglaries or attempted burglaries on student houses.

Durham student Lara Griffiths, 19, told The Tab Durham more about her experience with attempted burglary after posting about it on Urban Angels. Lara describes how on the day of the offence, she saw a man “loitering outside [her] house” as if he was “inspecting” her street level bedroom window.

Lara told The Tab that in the early hours of the next day, “around 2am”, she and her housemates “heard someone rattling at [their] door as if trying to get in”.  After ten minutes of this, “the person gave up trying the door and started trying to get in though [Lara’s] bedroom window”.

Luckily, the person did not gain entry to Lara’s house. However, Lara recalls noticing “strange markings” drawn on the house’s bins the next day. The police told Lana that these symbols “weren’t known”, and were unlikely to be related to the incident.

An aerial view of The Viaduct, where Lara’s house was targeted

The Durham Constabulary website details how you can make your house a less desirable target for burglars. The website names “CCTV”, “alarms”, and “lighting” as good deterrents, and suggests some improvements you could make to your house’s garden and windows.

“Prickly” shrubbery or noisy “gravel” act as a natural deterrent, and lowering fences at the front of your house makes it more visible, which is key. Installing “security film” or “window opening restrictors” on accessible windows means that even if your house does become a target for a burglary, gaining entry would be difficult.

The Constabulary suggest that you should “think like a thief” in order to protect your house.

Reassuringly, the burglary and theft rate in DH1 has seemingly begun to decrease. There were 70 reported cases in January, which is a significant reduction from the rates in December (106 cases), November (127 cases), October (109 cases), and September (122 cases).

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