The Leeds Universities and Colleges Crime Reduction Partnership has been recognised by the Home Office with their equivalent of an Oscar.
The Tilley Awards are awarded nationally to innovative crime-fighting projects which bring community groups, businesses, the public and the police together to tackle local crime problems.
The partnership which includes the University of Leeds, Leeds University Union and West Yorkshire Police was formed in 2002. The Knowledge campaign which followed in 2007, educates students about the simple, yet effective solutions they can use to reduce their chances of becoming a crime victim.
A Certificate of Merit has been awarded in recognition of the combined effectiveness of work undertaken in University of Leeds Residences and the Knowledge campaign. Between 2008 and 2011 the number of student burglaries in Leeds fell by 42%. Laptops have proven to be a key target for would-be burglars but the introduction of tracker software by West Yorkshire Police, getting students to close windows and doors, hide valuables in safe places and leave lights on when out, helped to reduce laptop theft by 50% between 2009 and 2010. Crime in University-owned residences has also plummeted by 90% between 2004 and 2010.
The partnership has used strategic and tactical analysis of crimes to develop an armoury of initiatives to reduce crime against students. Viral messages and social media are being used to create the biggest impact for personal and possession safety amongst the student population. A student-led neighbourhood watch scheme in collaboration with local neighbourhood police teams has also proved useful in raising issues on a face-to-face basis with students, whilst also putting off potential offenders.
"This is the first award of its kind to an organisation within the HE sector, and demonstrates the effectiveness of partnership work, student and staff commitment, and a student-led behavioural campaign, in combating crime committed against students." says Mike Leonard, Chair of the Leeds Universities & Colleges Crime Reduction Partnership.
Leeds University Union and the students they represent have played a large part in its success. "Knowledge has been making students in Leeds safer for the last few years, allowing them to focus on their studies and enjoy their time living in the city," says Ben Fisher, Community Officer at LUU. "The decrease in crime we've seen since it began shows how effective the approach has been, and I'm sure we'll see further success in the future."
"The majority of students are living away from home for the first time and may be unaware of the many precautions they can take to avoid becoming a victim of crime," says Antony Haddley, a student who had the misfortune of being a victim of crime. "Knowledge counteracts this and by applying the campaign's accessible safety advice, I have felt considerably safer when living in Leeds."
"This Home Office award is welcome national recognition for all the planning and hard work that takes place here in Leeds to reduce the impact of crime on students in the city" adds Mike Leonard. "We're really keen to go one further and be crowned the overall winner in the public vote."
For further information:
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Notes to Editors
- The Leeds Universities and Colleges Crime Reduction Partnership is a partnership between the University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds Trinity University College, Leeds College of Music, Leeds University Union, Leeds Met Students' Union, Leeds Trinity Union, West Yorkshire Police, Unipol, Safer Leeds and Spencer's Properties.
- The Tilley Awards recognise innovative crime fighting projects where police, community groups and the public successfully work together to identify and tackle local crime problems. The Tilley awards recognise local initiatives that demonstrate:
· the use of a problem-solving model
· measurable and sustainable impact on crime reduction or community safety issues