Panic alarms installed in city students' safety drive; Landlord steps up security in rented rooms.
STUDENT bedrooms are being fitted with panic buttons to help them feel safer renting accommodation in Liverpool.
One private lettings agent has fitted the buttons - which trigger a loud alarm - to 100 rooms in the south of the city
Student Lettings Point is also about to start offering rape alarms to students as part of an arrival pack.
It comes a month after a 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped in Wavertree, the heart of one of the largest student areas. A 19-year-old man has been arrested and appeared in court.
Last night Andrew Parry manager of Student Lettings Point which has properties in Wavertree and Aigburth, said he did not want students to panic, but they should be aware of the risks of living in a city.
"We don't think there are any greater dangers in Liverpool than in other big cities," he said.
"But often these students have only just left school when they arrive, and they can be quite naive, particularly if they've come from a rural area or a small town.
"We are trying to be a responsible landlord and do everything we can to make students feel safer and encourage them to keep their wits about them.
"We've already fitted panic alarms to every bedroom, kitchen and hall in each of our properties. "So far they have been very popular with the tenants - they say they feel more secure.
"In deciding to make personal attack alarms available, we're looking to help make them more safety conscious when they are out and about generally"
Mr Parry stressed the alarms were in addition to existing security in the properties, and tenants were visited monthly to check on their welfare.
Rape alarms are already supplied on request through the university's welfare service.
The campus also has a Merseyside police officer on site, and although there are no panic buttons, CCTV is installed in all university halls of residence.
A University of Liverpool spokeswoman said steps had been taken to make sure halls accommodation was safe.
She said: "The university takes the safety of its students very seriously."
They should be aware of risks
Andrew Parry, manager of Student Lettings Point, with an alarm button issued to students in his accommodation Picture: MARTIN BIRCHALL