POLICE today appealed to students in the East Oxford area to make sure that they secure their properties when they go out and also when they get back to their houses after a night out.

PC Craig Burchall, based at Oxford police station, said: "If houses are left insecure offenders can get in through the front door and grab the nearest valuables - particularly handbags, wallets, car keys and laptop computers.

"We have also had a few incidents recently when thieves have followed students back into their homes after they have been out and have made their way in through insecure doors and windows."

Crime reduction adviser Graham Milne would like to offer the following advice to students to protect their property:

  • If you have a UPVC front door, make sure you lock it from the inside and remove the key at night. Keep the key nearby but out of sight so that you can get out of the house quickly in an emergency
  • Consider sealing up your letterbox and using a letterbox attached to an external wall. Alternatively, you could attach a letter cage over the inside of your door
  • Keep all windows on the ground floor shut at night time and only open them during the day if you are in the room.
  • Do not leave keys in your door or window locks
  • Remove all keys, handbags and purses/wallets from sight
  • Keep your back door shut and locked and only open it when you need to
  • Make sure you have the side(s) of your house protected with a side fence and locked gate. Use prickly bushes below windows and against fences to deter offenders
  • Use exterior lighting
  • Fit a burglar alarm if you can.

Anyone who sees any suspicious activity can contact the police via 0845 8 505 505, or if you don't want to talk to the police or give your name, call the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.