By Emma Ogao
Almost a dozen cars have been broken into, and several bikes have been stolen following a wave of theft that has hit the student dominated areas of Cardiff over the last three weeks. The reported incidents have occurred in Cathays and Roath, as well as in the City Centre.
Shannon Clarke, a resident in Cathays, fell victim to a car break in 2 weeks ago. Speaking to Gair Rhydd, she recalls being home in that evening, when they heard a car alarm going off and spotted the thieves making a run from the car which was parked outside. In attempt to catch them, one of her housemates ran out but to no avail. On assessing the damage, Shannon and her housemates found the rear window of the car shattered, and several belongings which were in the vehicle at the time including a gym bag, beats wireless headphones, and make-up were taken.
Similar break-ins have also been reported on multiple streets in Cathays including Woodville Road, Llanishen Street, Coburn Street, and Harriet Street.
All vehicles involved show signs of being forcibly entered through either the drivers of passenger side or the rear. However there were no similarities in the type of car that was targeted. This has left many students worried about the safety of their vehicles
“We feel far less safe than we did before, especially as we live in a gated community so it’s meant to be a lot safer than living on a street” says Shannon.
Another Cathays resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, reiterates similar concern. “After this week I worry constantly about my car, which I use to commute daily. The area feels much less safe than before, and as a broke university student the last thing I want to be worried about is car repairs. It’s really worrying to think my car could be targeted next”
Following the series of break-ins, the neighbourhood has curated a group chat known as “neighbourhood watch” to keep each other alert of any strange noises, or any people in the area who seem suspicious.
PC Paul Donoghue, a neighbourhood officer for Cathays, tells Gair Rhydd they have had meetings with Cardiff University recently about the numerous incidents that have occurred around Cathays. “We are aware of the increase in thefts recently, and we are hoping to work together on this by what we call target hardening, [as well as] other initiatives”
Target hardening involves strengthening security and surveillance in order to protect an area and reduce the chances of thefts occurring in the future.
Students living in the city centre have also fell victim to a wave of bike thefts, with many bikes being reported stolen. Chloe Lenehan, a resident at Liberty Bridge, witnessed an attempted bike theft this past weekend. On returning to the student accommodation, she recalls seeing “a man with a tool trying to cut the locks to steal them”.
Cardiff has seen 1517 recorded bike thefts between October 2017, and September 2018 – a number which is currently on the incline.
South Wales Police have issued a warning, asking students to take precautions – “We would ask the public to ensure all items, particularly those that might be of value, are removed from their vehicles and to invest in a good quality lock for their bikes”
Please report any suspicious activity to 101 or 999 in an emergency.