You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Dunedin police have sounded the alarm about suspicious people and known criminals lurking around the university area in North Dunedin, preying on the flats of new and returning students.
Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, said people known to police had been seen this week in streets near the University of Otago.
He warned it only took a few minutes to burgle a flat.
Students were urged to keep their flats locked at all times, even if popping out for a brief period, and to be aware of what their flatmates were up to.
''You can't afford to leave your door unlocked because your [flatmate] is coming back in half an hour.
''If people see an opportunity to exploit the vulnerable, they will.''
Police would be conducting foot patrols around the university area and speaking to students about keeping safe, he said.
''If we can work with them to ensure it's a safe environment to party, so windows don't get smashed, people don't get cut feet or arrested, that's what we want to do.''
On Monday night, police were called after two reports of people throwing bottles, resulting in smashed windows, but were unable to identify the culprits.