Students do not feel safe after spate of violence One attack a day – including sex assaults – in student heartland
STUDENTS in Selly Oak say they are living in fear after a number of violent attacks. There was 365 violent and sexual assaults reported in the area, which is a student heartland, between January and December 2017 – one for every day of the year.
Disturbing statistics from West Midlands Police revealed that three attacks took place at Selly Oak train station.
Other hotspots included the Bristol Road and the largely student populated areas of Hubert Road and Heeley Road, near the railway station.
There were also 279 burglaries reported across Selly Oak between the same period.
The litany of crime included 72 robberies and 151 reports of criminal damage and arson. There were also 16 thefts from a person. Students told said sexual and violent assaults and burglaries are top of their crime fears.
Will Melhuish, aged 21, an English and drama student, added: “I was burgled last year but it wasn’t even at night, it was about 6am, they came through the back door and took a PlayStation 4 and other electrical items.
“Every house must have been tried that day, it’s very common. I have heard about burglars getting in and trying to get in the bedrooms while students have been asleep.”
Deborah Ogunsanya, aged 20, a social policy student said: “My flatmate went out one night to meet a friend and was followed by a man, but he disappeared into an alleyway. You have to be so careful especially in the dark.”
Chris Fishwick, aged 22, a pharmacy student at the University of Birmingham said: “I haven’t personally experi- enced any problems with crime, but a man exposed himself and then performed a sex act in front of a female student I know. I know it really shook her up.”
Alanah Davies, aged 19, said: “You get a lot of guys hanging around in cars and it can be intimidating as sometimes they will try and speak to you. I have friends that have been followed. I also know people who have been burgled and this is a concern in the area.”
Another female student, who didn’t want to be named said: “Both myself and my friends all carry rape alarms. I think it is the sensible thing to do. You do hear about female students being targeted. You need to keep your wits about you especially after a night out.”
Ellen Johnson, 21, a liberal arts and natural sciences student said: “I was followed last semester, he kept telling me to smile and saying you should smile more. It was very intimidating. This isn’t just at night either it can happen in the day.”
Police warned students not to walk alone at night back in December after two young women were groped in separate attacks three hours apart in Hubert Road. At the time a West Midlands Police spokesman said: “We are carrying out extra patrols in Selly Oak after two young women were touched inappropriately by a man.
“Officers will be increasing patrols in the area, however please consider your personal safety and if possible do not walk alone during the evening.”
> Selly Oak has become a hotspot for crime as students are targeted
> Chris Fishwick