Stay Safe at University
Student safety is a priority for every University, no-one wants you to become a victim of crime. Here are a few simple tips to help protect you and to keep you and your belongings safe.
Being prepared could keep you safe. Before you go out, plan how you are going to get home. Check bus and train times and make sure you know where the local taxi ranks are and have a taxi number ready in your phone.
Always make sure that you have enough money to get home (keep this money separate if necessary so that you don’t spend it). Charge your phone and make sure you have some credit in case of an emergency or if you need to make a call. Make sure you and your friends have each other’s mobile numbers so that you can keep in contact.
Try to stay with your friends, go out together and travel home together. Don’t wander off from your friends without letting anyone know where you are going and arrange a meeting point in case you become separated.
If you are going out alone, or to meet someone by yourself, make sure you tell a housemate or another friend where you are going, who you are meeting and what time you expect to be back.
Always try to travel home in a group. If you are walking home alone or even with friends, use well-lit, busy streets. Avoid dark and deserted areas such as alleyways or car parks and do not take shortcuts.
Don’t wear your headphones when walking at night. Listening to music or talking on the phone will make you less aware of your surroundings and make you more vulnerable. It also lets others know that you have valuables. Keep your mobile phone, wallet and other important items out of sight.
If you feel as though you may be in danger, cross over the road a few times, knock on a door or walk to the nearest shop or garage.
If you are travelling by yourself on public transport, sit near the driver on a bus or in a carriage where there are other passengers on a train. If you are travelling by yourself in a taxi, sit behind the driver. Do not get in any mini-cab unless you have booked them first. Any mini-cab that isn’t booked by phone, email or in a mini-cab office is illegal and could potentially be dangerous and put you at risk. Only black cabs are insured to collect fares off the street. If you have any doubt, don’t get in.
Watch how much and what you drink
When you are having a great night out, it’s easy to enjoy a few too many drinks. Too much alcohol may mean you are more likely to lose your personal belongings and may make you more exposed to dangerous situations. Eat before you go out and try alternating alcoholic drinks with a soft drink. If you feel too drunk, drink some water. Do not leave your drink unattended or let a stranger buy you a drink, however charming they may be. Sadly, it is all too easy for drinks to get spiked, so be cautious.
Try to use an ATM in the daylight, or ideally use one inside your bank. Do not let anyone help you when withdrawing cash, or tell anyone your PIN. Watch for groups hanging around ATM’s and do not use a machine if you think it may have been tampered with.
If you are out and you have any problems, avoid confrontation if you can. It’s easier to walk away from potential trouble if it happens. If you are in a pub or club and have any issues, there will be a manager and security staff available to help you.
Keep cash and your bank cards safe when you are out. If you have a bag, keep the front facing towards you to make it more difficult for pickpockets. If you lose your card, let your bank know straight away.
Secure your house
Always make sure that you and your house mates lock all the doors. As long as it is safe to do so, keep your doors locked even when you are home. Burglars can sneak in back doors even when you are in.
Make sure downstairs windows are fitted with locks and keep valuables out of sight and in a safe place and try not to leave them during holidays. Timer switches on your lights and radios can give the appearance of someone being in and might just deter a potential thief.
If you live in halls of residence, make sure no strangers follow you through the main entrance. This is important for your safety, as well as for others living there.
You can register your valuables such as laptops, mobile phones and bikes for free at http://www.immobilise.com. It’s a quick, easy and free way of logging the details of your possessions on a national database that police can access and compare against items that have been found or recovered from suspected criminals.
Your bike and car
It is worthwhile investing in a good bike lock. Always lock your bike if leaving it unattended and lock it to something immoveable. Lock both the wheel and frame to make your bike more secure. Consider adding your bike to you home contents insurance and if it is stolen, report it immediately.
Always lock your car doors, even if you are only going to be running in and out. Think about where you park your car. Park in a well-lit and busy area, especially at night if you are going to be returning to your car alone. Don’t leave any valuables in your car, take your sat nav and other items in with you.
Contacts to remember
If you need to contact the Police for non-emergency incidents, call 101.
In an emergency, where there is a threat to life or a crime in progress, call 999.
You can call Crimestoppers anonymously with information about crime on 0800 555 111. Crimestoppers is an independent charity that will not want your name, just your information. Your call will not be traced or recorded and you do not have to give a statement or go to court.
This might all sound worrying, but remember that instances of crime are actually few and far between.
As long as you stay aware and look out for your friends you can still have fun.