Crime: be safe!By Sophie
Your personal safety is important!
Whilst you shouldn’t be living in fear, protecting yourself and your possessions will lower your risk of becoming a victim of crime.
Short and sweet, here are our tops tips for staying safe:
Out and about
- If you park in a multi-storey car park, never walk up the side staircase. People can wait on the upper floors and listen for your foot
- steps, and women’s steps are distinguishable from those of men. Instead, walk up the car park levels and aim to park on a low floor.
- When you go on a night out with friends, do not let one person go home alone, but if you travel alone, ask the taxi driver to wait outside until you are safely in the house before driving off.
- If you are mugged then just give up your possessions: your safety is worth more than material things.
- If you are being approached and feel that you cannot defend yourself run to a car, crawl underneath and hold on to something. You will be difficult to dislodge and an attacker will draw attention to themselves if they try to get you out.
- Shout “fire” as people are more likely to come running to this than a cry for “help”. Shout as loudly as you can as this will panic your assailant and may give you a chance to flee.
- You are not allowed to carry a weapon however you will probably have some things on your person which you can use to defend yourself, like your keys. Get them ready in your hand if you think you are being followed.
- A flat handed hard push to the chest accompanied by loudly shouting “Back off” will signal your intention to resist. Areas of weakness include eyes and knees: don’t give up and keep fighting if you are restrained.
- If you think you are being followed one immediate option is to run as fast as you can to the nearest area of safety like a shop or bar.
- Personal attack alarms are also available; ask at your local police station or your Student Union.
- Many student houses are terraced with the kitchen downstairs. Meal times are ideal for thieves as they can walk along the street, see when you and your flatmates are in your kitchen, and try your front door. Keep your doors locked and bolted at all times, and if you do not feel you have adequate security, speak to your landlord.
- This is less likely in student homes, but if you do have a key rack or bowl, then don’t! It’s the quickest way for an intruder to snap up all of your keys – and cars!
- Back up all of your work externally; the last thing you want two weeks before a deadline is a stolen laptop and lost dissertation!
- If you all go on a night out, leave a light on and a chat show on the radio playing. If a burglar sees lights and hears voices they are less likely to linger to see if they are yours or not.
- Mark all of your personal belongings with a UV pen, noting your home postcode.
- You can register all of your valuables at Immobilise, a database designed to reunite you with your stolen goods in the event of a burglary.
All that remains is to use your common sense and avoid taking unnecessary risks.
If you are concerned about your safety, consult your university safety guidelines, or if you have been a victim of crime and wish to talk to someone, call the Victim Supportline.