Computer database aims to cut campus crime in city

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THOUSANDS of items of property owned by Leeds students are to be placed on a computer database in a new scheme to deter thieves and help recover stolen goods.

Leeds Metropolitan University and West Yorkshire Police have teamed up to launch the innovative scheme which works by storing details of student and staff property on a central database.

As part of the “get it logged, get it back” initiative the University has bought state-of-the-art scanning technology which enables it to register items such as mobile phones, bikes, computers, games consoles, and other electronic equipment such as satellite navigation systems onto a database, creating a record of both the item and the contact details of its owner.

In the event of any thefts, the database can then be searched by the police using sophisticated scanners to instantly inform them of the owner’s details.

Users can also update their own accounts by email when they acquire new belongings.

David Collett, head of campus and residential services at Leeds Metropolitan, said: “Our purchase of the equipment supports the efforts of our partners at West Yorkshire Police to reduce crime on and off campus and also supports the number of awareness events scheduled throughout the year by the university.”

Inspector Ian O’Brien of West Yorkshire Police said: “The ‘get it logged, get it back’ marketing campaign that is supporting the deployment of the Hermes system is a powerful deterrent to would-be thieves.

“This technology will provide us with a highly relevant database of property that is owned by our local student population and our patrol officers will have the capability to instantly access information that was previously unavailable to us. The message I am sending out is simple – register your property and the police have a far better chance of re-uniting you with it. We will be able to act decisively when offenders are caught in possession of suspect items.”

A total of 372 items belonging to first year students at the University have so far been registered onto the Hermes system.

Over a three-year period, the university plans to register all students, living in both the private sector and in Leeds Met accommodation, as well as university staff members.