Stu­dents do not feel safe after spate of vi­o­lence One at­tack a day – in­clud­ing sex as­saults – in stu­dent heart­land

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Andy Richard­son Staff Reporter

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

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