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Friday, 7 November 2014

DEALING WITH THEFT



I'm sure most of you will know by now that KYUEM student accommodation suffered a series of burglaries a few nights ago. Most common items stolen were Android smartphones, but a laptop was also taken along with significant amounts of money. So far, despite all our best efforts, nothing has been recovered.

Theft is never pleasant and it is even more disagreeable to have to consider the possibility of having a thief (or thieves) actually living among us. However, while deploring the occurrences themselves, I do want to make, yet again, a plea for students to take responsibility for the safety and security of their own possessions.

Consider these two facts:

  • The morning after the thefts occurred, members of the Student Services Department made random spot checks on student accommodation. Over 90% of the premises they visited were unlocked and items of valuable personal property were left lying about.
  • In my time here as Headmaster, there has never been a single theft from any premises where the outside door AND students' bedroom doors were both locked.

Our students are far too careless and cavalier about their personal property. If any good is to come out of these unfortunate thefts it is this:

We know that the majority of our young people are destined for places in major overseas universities. If they don't already know it, the incidents of opportunistic, random theft in cities such as London are many and various. Recently published UK statistics show that over a two-year period, there were 781,866 burglaries in Britain, or one every 40 seconds. 

KYUEM students need to acquire the habit of locking away their valuables right now. It will stand them in good stead when they are overseas and much more at risk.

I remember listening to the wise words of a senior policeman many years ago. He said that for a dedicated thief, there is no such thing as a "burglar-proof" building. Instead of aiming for this, his advice was to make your residence as difficult and unattractive for the potential burglar as possible. That will make him consider his options and choose somewhere easier to steal from, rather than your place.

I am mindful of that advice today. Locking all parts of our accommodation is a deterrent; leaving them unlocked is an open invitation. I urge all parents, sponsors, teachers, tutors and support staff to impress this on everyone. Lock your rooms and lock your accommodation units - 24/7.

We must never allow thieves to think they have won or that KYUEM students are soft targets. Meanwhile, I can also inform you that comprehensive CCTV surveillance will be in constant operation throughout the KYUEM campus from the beginning of next semester.

My sincere regrets to all those who lost items of value this week.

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