Security fears following St Catz thefts

St Catherine’s college has been plagued with security concerns following the attempts to break into students’ rooms by an unknown man and thefts in public spaces.

College authorities were alerted last week after an unidentified man entered one of the St Catz’s staircases. He then attempted to force through several doors. One of the rooms belonged to Max Grandison, a second year geography student, who happened to be in his room at the time.

The student commented, “The guy actually tried to come into my room when I was in it.” Grandison alerted the porters shortly afterwards and the individual disappeared off campus.

Last Friday a laptop, an ipod, a mobile phone and items of toiletry totalling £290 in value were stolen from an unlocked office at the college. On Monday, a laptop was stolen from the college’s senior common room.

James Bennett, the home bursar of St Catz, stressed the importance to protect laptops with passwords saying, “A note to this effect [about password-protected laptops] should be very clearly visible as it might just discourage the casual thief.”

Bennett was less concerned about the monetary value of the stolen laptop than by the loss of the “months of work stored on it”.

Police say they are continuing to investigate both incidents. They refused to comment as to whether the two might be linked.

Bennett said the attempted room intrusions had probably been done by somebody who had been let into the accommodation block, which was protected by a key card system.

In response to last week’s events, St Catz sent out advisory notes on security to all of its students. They read, “Please resist the natural temptation to give priority to politeness over security. Let the person know that if they wish to gain entry they should seek assistance from the lodge.”

JCR President Paul Fisher said, “Both students and staff will remain increasingly vigilant so that the college’s position of vulnerability on the outskirts of the city centre is countered by an awareness of the threat posed”.

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Max Grandison has reacted similarly to last week’s incident saying, “I am definitely more aware of making sure that I keep my door locked.”