Theft in the student hotspot of Rusholme increased by 36% last year and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has pledged to do more to tackle it.
A Freedom of Information request by MM to Greater Manchester Police revealed the 2016 figure of 672 had inflated by 375 cases to 1,047 in 2017.
Neighbouring student destination Fallowfield also saw a 21% increase despite both areas having stable averages over the previous three years.
Annual figures between 2014 and 2016 fluctuated by no more than 24 cases in Fallowfield and a maximum of 83 in Rusholme.
Rusholme’s 2014-2016 average of 724 rose by 323 in 2017, while Fallowfield’s 567 average over the same period increased by 129 to 696 cases.
Burnham, who has regional responsibility for GMP as part of his remit as the Greater Manchester mayor, responded to a concerned student at the launch of Youth Politics UK last month.
He said: “I recognise the threat that students could face in those areas and we have to do something about it.”
The worst kind of Government spin. They are cutting Greater Manchester Police for the 8th year in a row. Any increase down to council tax. https://t.co/OMB7MEd6nI
— Andy Burnham (@AndyBurnhamGM) December 20, 2017
Burnham also declared that during a recent Reclaim the Streets event in Manchester he was told by female students they didn’t feel safe.
In January the mayor confirmed plans to protect the police budget from government austerity policies by raising council tax.
He claimed it would recruit more police officers, help push for improvements to the 101 out-of-hour service and protect community support officers.
“There isn’t enough police presence in parts of Greater Manchester,” he added.
However a source at GMP dismissed budget restraints being a factor, saying: “If there’s an issue, we would deal with it.”
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics recorded an 11% theft increase across England and Wales from the year ending September 2016 to the year ending September 2017.
Rusholme and Fallowfield’s significantly-higher increases than the national figure could worry many students looking for accommodation ahead of the new academic year.
Jack Houghton, community officer at the University of Manchester Students’ Union, claimed “student safety is always top priority.”
He added: “The Student Union sends out advice via the Student Advice Centre, located in the SU building.
“We also work with GMP and the council to send messages out and are working on a comprehensive marketing strategy to further consolidate and expand our channels.”
The officer also urged victims to report crimes to GMP because it would impact their patrol routes.
On how GMP are helping students stay safe from theft, Inspector Mike Smith said: “Each month we meet with our partners such as the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester City Council, Manchester Student Homes and the student unions to share information and discuss initiatives to help keep students safe.
“We have dedicated student safe patrols, have strong links with each of the universities and work throughout the academic year to look after them through early intervention.
PCSO C and PCSO T will be out and about on foot patrol until midnight tonight! Say hello if you see them out and about
— GMP City Centre (@GMPCityCentre) March 13, 2018
“We also give a talk to students at the beginning of every academic year, giving advice on the issues that we know are most affecting people.”
Advice on GMP’s online Student Survival Guide includes locking windows when you’re out and not putting expensive items’ boxes in the bin outside your home.
It’s also recommended to register your valuables on immobilise.com and that you know your mobile phone’s IMEI number, which can be found by dialing *#06#.
GMP understand that students bring up to £1000 of goods to university with one in 10 being a victim of crime while in Manchester.
Click here for more information on how to reduce the chances of being a victim of theft.