Your time at university should be something that you’re free to enjoy. Whether you’re new to the University or you’ve been here for a few years, however, it’s always worth a little reminder of how to stay safe whilst making the most of your time here.
Here are five things to help you put your safety first.
- Look after yourself and your friends whilst you’re out
If you’re on a night out, it’s always best to stay in a group. But it also means that you keep an eye on each other and notice when someone in your group has had a little too much to drink. Stick together, take extra precautions and be aware that drinking can affect your judgement.
When you’re leaving to go home, make sure that no one’s left behind, and don’t let anyone wait around on their own.
If you know that someone needs to go home, don’t let them go alone. And definitely do not let them walk.
If you are worried about a friend because of alcohol or substance abuse, you can get support at the SU’s Advice Service.
- Take care getting home
Consider where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Plan where you’re going with friends and the route you’ll take, and then travel with them if you can. It’s always much more fun anyway!
When getting a taxi, make sure you wait in a safe place and check the driver’s ID before you get in. Do not flag down private taxis unless you have pre-booked them. Black hackney carriages can be flagged down in the street.
The Students’ Union Safe Taxi Scheme means that if you run out of cash and need to get home, you can give StreetCars Taxis your student card in lieu of payment, and pay the following day when you collect your card from the Students’ Union Helpdesk.
All StreetCars are either silver or white and have yellow stickers with the name of the company printed in black). StreetCars taxis are also GPS tracked, so via the app, you can see exactly how far away your driver is.
To book, call StreetCars on 0161 228 7878 and quote ‘Manchester SU Safe Taxi Scheme’ with your full name and Student ID number.
The SU’s Executive Officer team are looking at the possibility of re-launching the Student Shuttle Bus to offer safe and affordable transport home after dark, and would be keen to hear from any students interested in shaping this scheme. Find out more about their plans for enhancing student safety and get in touch with them here.
If you do decide to walk, stick to main roads and avoid poorly lit areas and shortcuts.
Whether you’re on a night out, working late at the library or at a friend’s house, make sure someone knows where you are and when you’ll be back.
Always dial 999 in an emergency, or 101 to report a non-emergency crime.
- Take care of your possessions
Make sure you keep your possessions safe whilst you’re out and about.
Don’t be complacent when it comes to looking after your belongings. Just because you’ve never had a problem leaving your laptop unattended in the library, doesn’t mean that it is completely safe.
Do you walk and scroll on your phone? If so, you should be aware of your surroundings, particularly at night time. It can be very easy to get distracted by your phone and for it to be swiped from your hands.
As part of the University’s security initiative to reduce the number of bikes stolen on campus, you can purchase excellent quality subsidised bike locks for only £15 (RRP £40) and have your bike marked for free. Get your gold standard ‘D’ lock and protect your bike, all you have to do to qualify is register your bike for free on the University scheme. Easy!
No matter what we do, we can’t always prevent crime. Be one step ahead and mark your most valuable possessions with a UV pen and be sure to register the serial numbers of your electronic equipment on Immobilise.
- Keep safe online
Online security has never been more important, which is why you need to make sure that you keep yourself vigilant in the online world as well as the real world.
Be aware of phishing scams – we’re talking bogus emails which claim to be the University and promise bursaries and grants. Keep all your security information to yourself.
We will never ask for your bank details, passport details or University passwords.
If you think you’re a victim of a phishing email, or that your PC has become infected, telephone us immediately on 0161 306 5544.
You also need to be careful with what you post on social media. When you post on Facebook that you’re out in the city centre, or that you’re at Manchester Airport ready for a holiday, you’re increasing the chance of a burglary. Your settings might allow those who are not your friends to see your posts. Make sure that your social media do not signpost that you have an empty house.
- Secure your home
Please make sure that you secure your property each time you head out – even if it’s just to the shops.
More importantly, make sure that your house is secure when you know that your house will be empty during Christmas and Easter. Check that all windows are shut, all doors are locked (including your back door) and your curtains are shut.
If you have a burglar alarm, you need to ensure that it works, understand how it works and keep it on during the day.
Don’t let all of this scare you! Taking precautions to minimise any risks will not only make you safer, and it should also make you feel safer and give you more confidence when out on the streets.
You should also feel safe on campus. We have four security teams patrolling 24/7 on foot and in cars and via CCTV all along Oxford Road. We respond quickly, and work closely with the Students’ Union, the police, and other universities to keep Manchester a great place to live and study.
Keep your eye out for Speak Up, Stand Up – our new University campaign around harassment, hate crime and sexual violence.