Personal Safety

Personal Safety

For some of you, this is your first time away from home living independently of parents. At home, your parents cared for your overall safety and security, perhaps more than you thought at the time. Now it’s your responsibility… to care for yourself and those around you.

All cities can be dangerous places, especially for the vulnerable and naïve and students can be seen as soft targets. The best thing you can do is to be aware of the main safety and security issues that affect students and take whatever reasonable precautions you can to minimise risks. 

Covered on this page:

  1. Crime: Your Home
  2. Your Personal Belongings
  3. Bikes
  4. Emergencies
  5. Out & About
  6. Beware of Scams

Crime: Your Home

  • Lock your doors and shut your windows at night and when you go out – even if it is only to go to the corner shop or the flat next door.
  • When someone you don’t know comes looking for your flat-mate, or someone you know but you don’t feel comfortable with asks if they can come in and wait for your flatmate to get home, don’t let them in. Tell them they will need to come back when your flat-mate is in.
  • When a caller comes to “sort the heating” or “read the meter”, always check ID. This means looking at the card and the photo ID and shutting the door on the caller while you do this properly. If you are in doubt, phone the organisation that is supposed to have sent them. It’s also a good idea to stick around while they do any work.
  • When the stair buzzer goes, don’t automatically let the caller into the stair. If they are not there to see you, and they tell you they want to see someone in another flat, tell them you can’t let them in and to call back later.
  • Always close the stair door after you, especially at night. Don’t let anyone follow you in from the street uninvited.

Your Personal Belongings

  • If your flat-mates are not good on security, tend to bring home strangers, or you just don’t want anyone using your stuff, remove your treasures from the shared spaces and put them in your room – ideally under lock and key when you’re not in.
  • Insure your things against loss. Some items have a heavy excess to pay before you get money back. Look for the best deal available. List your high value items separately – note down the make, model, serial number etc.
  • Mark your precious things with a UV pen. Put “ENU” for your university, followed by your matriculation number. This increases your chance of getting your things back if they are stolen or lost, and should help with insurance claims.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by anything/anyone at a cash machine – robbers don’t just want cash but also your pin number. If you think there is anything odd about the machine – its appearance or how it works – tell the bank!
  • Don’t flash your cash in public and be modest with how you use your technology especially on the street or on public transport. There will always be someone happy to steal these things given a chance.
  • Don’t wander off for a chat (even at uni) and leave your stuff unattended – stuff includes good bags and expensive coats too. Opportunist thieves will steal anything from anywhere.

Bikes

  • If you own a bike, have lights on it and use reflectors to make yourself visible. Be careful at traffic lights with vehicles outside you turning left (they may not see you). There are good cycle lanes in the city, but don’t cut across the Meadows and badly lit areas after dark. You should also wear a helmet.
  • Get a sturdy chain and padlock (key operated rather than combination lock) and secure both wheels when you park your bike.
  • Some common stairs will allow you to chain your bike up, but others won’t because they may constitute an obstruction to stair users – especially in case of fire. But if allowed, don’t leave your bike at ground level where is can be seen easily by opportunists whenever the stair door opens, do it on a higher floor where it may be less tempting.

Emergencies

The emergency services: Police / Ambulance / Fire Service / Coastguard can be contacted by dialing “999” – but make sure you only use this number in a genuine emergency – e.g. when you or someone else is in danger and requires immediate attention, or while a crime is in progress.

If you need to report a crime in a non-emergency situation you should call the local police by dialing “101". You can call 101 to report a crime that has already happened, seek crime prevention advice or make the Police aware of any issues in your local area.

Out & About

  • Try not to use cash machines after dark – taking cash out of an ATM makes you a target for a mugging. Keep your pin number away from your card/wallet and don’t show it when you key it into the machine.
  • Don’t take short cuts through dark or dodgy neighbourhoods at night. The Meadows are not safe after dark.
  • Don’t walk home from a club/pub on your own, ideally share a black cab with friends.
  • If you have to walk home late, do so with friends. Walk purposefully along well-lit main roads and be aware of your surroundings and where you could run to for help if you need it. Keep your phone (for a 999 call) and your keys to hand.
  • Beware of drink-spiking. It mostly affects women, and the spiker is usually wants non-consensual sex, but it is an issue for men too. Never drink from a glass/bottle left unattended even for a short time. You should get a friend to watch your drink if you get up to dance, go to the toilet or go to speak to someone. If you feel unwell or disoriented and think that your drink might have been spiked, tell a trusted friend and ask them to get you home safely, or ask the bar manager for help. Never trust a “kind stranger” who offers you a helping hand.

Beware of Scams

Never tell anyone (including the Police) your PIN number or passwords, and don’t give this information to any person or organisation in response to an e-mail. There are loads of scammers out there, so be wary. Don’t provide your address or details to people you are unsure about and, if possible, shred documents once you are done with them.

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