University students have called for more security cameras on campus to deter crime, especially in the car parks and library, where they believe most thefts take place, research shows.

Almost half the students believe theft is the most frequent crime committed on campus and several feel this could be addressed by installing cameras and increasing the presence of security officers, according to a Crime on Campus report.

Sixty-three per cent of students said security guards were never on campus and "are only interested in clamping cars", the report adds.

The study, compiled by the Criminology Students' Association, was launched during a criminology national conference last Friday.

The first of its kind, the report shows 69 per cent of students believe crime is a reality on campus.

Of those, 13 per cent were actual victims of crime, 36 per cent had heard stories about victims and 51 per cent believed a lot of crime went unreported.

However, this did not impact upon the feeling of safety since 47 per cent believe university is a safe place.

The 200 students surveyed believed that the most popular crimes were theft, including car theft (48 per cent), followed by vandalism (11 per cent), drug use (10 per cent) and plagiarism (seven per cent).

Four per cent mentioned sexual harassment of students as a crime on campus. In an anonymous interview included in the report, a former student recounted her experience when she was harassed by a tutor (see box).

The report highlighted the need for several student education campaigns that included one to help students become aware about this type of harassment and the availability of services for abuse victims.

The University of Malta's Criminology Department will be offering a new dual masters degree in collaboration with the Western Michigan University in the US.

Applications for the course, which opens in October, close next month.

Student sexual harassment Martina* was carrying out a student placement as part of her University studies when her tutor asked her to remove her top and touched her to point out "anatomical muscles".

In an anonymous interview published in the Crime on Campus report, a former student spoke up about the ordeal for the first time to encourage students to stand up to sexual harassment.

She explained how, as a student on a particular course, she had to spend some hours working in the public sector to gain experience related to the profession.

Such experience was performed at a particular commercial outlet "belonging to a person who had also direct connections with her department of studies".

On a particular occasion, together with another student, she was involved by the owner in an 'exercise' to identify certain anatomical muscles, the interview read.

For such an exercise to be performed, she had to remove her top, almost exposing her breast, with her tutor's hands touching parts of her body.

She did not report the event because she feared not being believed and being labelled as a liar. She was also concerned that opening her mouth could translate into bad grades or failing her course.

* Fictitious name

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