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Students can be very vulnerable - what advice is there about crime and personal safety to be given?

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      24.08.2007 16:51
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      Be sensible

      In a few weeks' time thousands of students will be leaving home for the first time to go away to university. They will no doubt be feeling very excited and also perhaps apprehensive. There will be lots of things to think about and a priority should be safety.

      Safety of the student and of their belongings, so I am passing on some advice here to all students and do hope it will be helpful.

      PERSONAL SAFETY

      First of all, be sensible about your own personal safety. Your parents have brought you up and looked after you so far, don't throw away all their hard work by not taking care of yourself when you leave home!!! They will be worried enough about if you eating sensibly etc without having to worry if you are safe as well!

      Drinking - of course you will drink to excess at some point, but don't leave drinks unattended in case someone spikes them. Hopefully if you do drink too much there will be someone in your group who will help you get home safely. Take care of others around you too and if you see someone worse for drink make an effort to help them get home.

      Drugs - well, I am sure you will have been educated on the dangers of these, so the only thing I am saying here is "don't take them".

      Travelling - whether it is after a night out or after leaving uni make sure you know how to get home safely. Don't take risks by walking alone through parks or isolated areas.

      Make sure you know which bus to take to get you back to your accommodation and check what time the last one leaves.

      If you can't get home on public transport, then either arrange to stay with a friend or take a taxi. If you have to take a taxi you will need cash.

      This brings me onto my next point - don't carry too much cash around with you (as if!!!!!) and if you use a cashpoint try to do this in daylight and check around to see who is watching you. Follow the usual security precautions, such as not writing down your pin number etc. Don't carry too many credit cards around with you.

      When out with friends steer clear of trouble spots. In a strange city you should find out where these are by asking people from uni who have been there longer than you. Follow your own instincts, if a place doesn't feel safe then avoid it.

      Don't use your mobile phone in public, especially if it is the latest model. Hide your laptop when carrying it around.

      ACCOMMODATION - hopefully you will have had some guidance in choosing accommodation in a safe area.

      Make sure you lock the communal entrance after you and check if anyone follows you in, if you are in a block of apartments. Otherwise, make sure you always lock doors into your accommodation and tell your flatmates to do the same.

      Don't leave expensive items on display and take out insurance to cover your possessions.

      Make sure you close windows at night and if you are out. Fit window locks too.

      Buy a few timers and leave a couple of lights on, this will make the accommodation look lived in.

      Burglars know when students go home for the holidays. If your flat is going to be empty for a while then put your possessions out of sight or take them with you. If you can't do this, then leave lights on timers.

      Suggest your landlord invests in a burglar alarm system and then make sure everyone knows how to use it. Set it at night and when you are out, it is easy to zone areas that are being used all the time.

      It is the law that if you are in accommodation with gas appliances that these have been checked by a CORGI registered fitter. You should have a certificated stating the appliances are safe and this has to be renewed annually. If your landlord doesn't provide this s/he is breaking the law and putting your life at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning.

      GENERAL

      Use your commonsense, up to now your parents have probably taken care of security issues in the home. Now it is up to you. Make sure everyone in your accommodation takes their security seriously. Be careful who you allow into your rooms, especially when you have parties. Have someone checking people who arrive to make sure they are not gatecrashers.

      Check ID of any "officials" who come to the door, bogus callers don't just prey on the elderly.

      Fit bolts and locks to external doors and windows.


      FIRE

      Make sure everyone is aware of what to do in case of fire. It makes me cringe when I see students living in houses where the cellars have been made into kitchens. If your accommodation is like this, make sure you have fire blankets and extinguishers handy and make sure there is an opening window or door which could be used in an emergency.

      BE SAFE

      Lastly, enjoy your studies but do make security and your own personal safety a priority and advise others to do the same.

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        05.03.2006 12:20
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        Always be as Safe as you Can.

        I have always been what you would call safety conscious and I think much of this stems down from my parents who would always encourage me not to walk the streets or to handle cash in public or to leave my bag or purse around in strange places. All of this advice came to me when I was very little and it has stayed with me but I always had my parents there for me incase anything went wrong. Then I went to university and for the first time in my life I was living away from home and had to look after myself completely. I did not exactly live in the nicest area in the world so here are my top tips and advice for keeping yourself safe while you are a university student.

        -----

        First a few startling statistics:

        I took these figures from a study made in 2002 in the East Midlands which you can get to by going to http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/r194.pdf.

        * One third of the students were a victim of a crime.
        * Around 4% of students were stalked at some point during the university year.
        * 12 % of students had a burglary in private accommodation compared to 5% in university accommodation.

        There are a few more statistics if you go to that web page but I am sure you will agree that the above are quite scary for people to read who are about to go and become a university student.

        -----

        So why are students a target for crime?

        Well there are a few reasons and although they may seem obvious it is still good for me to state them for everybody to see.

        1. Student Loans.
        It is well known that when people go to university, the majority of them will take out a student loan. This loan is often is around three thousand pounds a year and students are known for wanting to spend it rather than save it which brings me on to point 2.

        2. New Things.
        With that huge student loan just itching to be spent I know that many people will go and spend it on some new things for themselves. Everybody that I know bought new clothes, DVDs and CDs so thieves think that they will be able to steal some new stuff from students.

        3. Vulnerable.
        It is fun being a student because you get freedom like you have never known before and especially in your first year you are going out all of the time and drinking and doing whatever else you do. This makes you very vulnerable in terms of property crime and personal crime. The fact that you are going out all of the time gives thieves a great opportunity to try to get into your property and also while you are drunk they will find it much easier to steal things from you. Also when you are drunk you have to be careful you do not become a victim of a personal crime which can include rape.

        -----

        My University experience with safety:

        Now I was quite lucky and I went through three years of university and did not have a problem with crime but this was because I was extremely conscious that students are a target and that I am a very careful person in general and I do not believe in taking stupid risks. Although I did not get subjected to any I know a few people who did.

        When we moved from university halls some of my friends went and lived in a separate house and they had people brake in on two occasions and had thousands of pounds worth of personal items stolen between them.

        One of my friends was working in the library when he had his phone stolen from the desk without him even realizing.

        Another friend was on a night out and he did get quite drunk. He walked home on his own and on the way he got ambushed by three guys who beat him up and stole his wallet and phone.

        This did not happen to me or anybody I know from my university but during the three years I heard of two students getting raped quite near to where we lived.

        -----

        Staying safe:

        Ok so how to safe at university is actually quite easy and although I cannot guarantee that nothing will happen I think that by following these simple rules you will keep yourself as safe as you can.


        Do not walk on your own at night;
        Perhaps the most obvious one is not to be on your own when it goes dark. I always made sure I traveled with at least two other girls or I got my boyfriend to come and pick me up from wherever I was. This is a good practice to get into even if you are in a seemingly nice area as students are a target and if you are a girl it is even worse as we girls need to be careful.


        Do not show off your property in public;
        What I mean by this is that if you have just withdrew a lot of money or you have just bought a brand new phone then be careful where you flash them around as you do not want the wrong people to see what you have, just wait till you get home.


        Do not keep valuables on site;
        If a burglar is walking past your window and sees the latest phone or an expensive watch through the window then they may target your house to get your property as they know that you have some stuff they would find useful.


        Look out for the best accommodation;
        University accommodation is usually very safe as there are usually security guards patrolling and in our halls we had to have three keys to get into our personal rooms so it would take a thief quite a long time to get in. When looking for private accommodation try to make sure you get a house with an alarm as it is safer and will bring your possessions insurance down as it is safer.


        Do not leave drinks on there own;
        The worst thing you can do while you are out is to leave a drink on the table, walk away from it and then go back to it a short while later. Unless you are in a quiet pub with a load of mates then this is a foolish thing to do as you are leaving yourself up to getting your drink spiked.


        In the university do not leave property about;
        I told you about my friend getting his phone stolen well this was because it was out on its own on the desk. Things like phones, wallets and handbags are so easy for people to just pick up so be safe and keep them close to you at all times.


        Keep things locked;
        In all accommodation at university please keep all of your windows and doors locked when you are out of the property. The first time my friends got burgled was because one of them had left the bathroom window open and because it was on the ground floor, the burglar had just squeezed himself through and then opened the door for his mates to come and steal stuff. If you have an alarm then put this on too so that it is an extra deterrent.


        Tell people where you are;
        To me this is the most important thing to do and it is to let people at all times know where you are going to be and what time you are due back. Me and my housemates got into the habit of doing this and it worked very well as we would just text each other during the day and say I will be back at this time about. It worked well because once we were expecting our mate back at about seven and by ten she still hadn’t turned up so we began to worry and we found out she had got really drunk and fell asleep at one of the university bars so not the brightest thing to do so we went to find her and got her back home before she was mugged for all she had.

        -----

        So there you go my review on keeping yourself safe at university and if you follow the rules above then you should be ok and lets face it nobody can ever be 100% safe with all of the weirdo’s out there but you can try your best to prevent yourself being affected by crime.

        Any other advice you may need then let me know and I will answer you as quickly and effectively as I can.

        Thanks for reading.

        xxx

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          20.08.2005 12:49
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          PLEASE BE AWARE YOU NEVER KNOW WHATS HAPPENING DOWN THE ROAD.

          Hello all ,not been on a while,had a rubbish month.I wish to state the importance of making sure you child whether 13 or 23 is safe at all times,it sounds corney giving children mobile phones but i think they should be given a cheap one with a number they can contact free asap,
          My daughter aged 13 Tamara has a mobile and is always forgetting to charge it so i have to call her friends to find out where she is.A month ago she was supposed to be home at 9pm by ten i was extreemly worried having tried to call her mobile with no joy eventually i got hold of her with her battery running low ,my car was of road so couldnt go get her she was within 10 to 15 mins walk away.to far by far it was,i called her mates parents they couldnt get hold of there daughter either .They were in danger i knew it ...2 whole hours my family spent trawling strrets to find her and mate lots of calls and eventually 12 am she was bought home by another friend in distress statin she had been raped.I called police instant we were down station for hours it was extreemly distressing for all concerned the next day a video interview Tamara was very tired and so was i.The lad in question was arrested next day as my daughter overheard ones name least she remembered it they are now out on bail two 17 year olds.Its been 4 weeks and im still waiting for crown prosecution to get to our case.i understand they are busy but it doesnt help us at the time ..I know where one lives and have beeen tempted to do something i wouldnt regret.,but i cant for my daughters saftey and i wouldnt want to jepodise any court hearing..So please always make sure your children are safe at school at play anywhere because its not always the neighbour that has the heartache it could be you........Are lives have changed forever due to an idiot who wouldnt except no for an answer and told my daughter he had already been done for stabbin some-one which put fear into her mind as she thought the same would become of her...I hope they pay greatly......Dawn. NO MEANS NO

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            01.11.2002 19:49
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            The musty smell of seediness seeps through every pore in the dimly lit walkway – men hang around on corners smelling of alcohol, lurching, ready to pounce on whatever comes their way… still enough about the corridors of Granada TV, this op is all about student safety and how to avoid becoming a statistic. I went to University in Manchester, which before I went people likened to being half-way between Beirut and Grozny, but with more amusement arcades. Like most cities, Manchester has a pretty high crime-rate in relation to the rest of the country, and has a particularly bad reputation in relation to personal crimes like ‘mugging’ (or street robbery if you’re talking in non-tabloid terms...). I managed to go through 3 and a half years at Uni without being a direct victim of any crime worse than milk being stolen. If you don’t want your milk to be stolen the best thing to do is to buy skimmed – no-one likes that. However, every other person I know has been a victim of some crime or another whilst they’ve been at University, whether it be against themselves or their property... I lived in the student area of Manchester called Fallowfield. In my 3 and a half years of living there, it was noticeable that the crime rate increased. However, there are steps you can take to minimise damage... As far as property goes, it’s important to live somewhere safe. Halls is about as safe as you can get – there is usually at least 2 levels of security to each room, which puts off potential criminals. My property also had guards, although you got the feeling that they would probably struggle to tear themselves away from Late Night Trisha if there was a crime being committed... However, the openness of the place can work both ways. Firstly, it may put burglars off on the basis that it is usually busy. On the other hand, because it is so big and anonymous at times, it is easy
            to get into the habit of letting people in without keys, giving them direct access to people’s rooms. In any case, insurance is always the best policy. When my friend’s laptop was stolen during a burglary, she was able to claim it back on the insurance. Fortunately she had backed everything up onto disk the night before it was taken, so it could have been a lot worse. Having said that, it can be expensive, particularly if you live in an area prone to that sort of crime. Another precaution is to postcode phones and computers so that they are identifiable. The police go to most Universities periodically in order to do this and it’s free of charge. Speaking of phones, it is useful to make a note of your handset’s serial number as well in case they are stolen... Burglar alarms are absolutely essential too – whilst they may be inconvenient at times, a house without one is always going to be a more likely target. Unfortunately during my friend’s burglary, they knocked the alarm off the wall, which shows that they are of limited use at times. Sadly, in densely student populated areas, most people turn a blind eye to alarms going off as these are mostly false alarms, such as the times when the battery runs out and you’re woken up by 2000 decibels of noise at 4am… Locks on windows and doors are also important if you live in private accommodation – a simple thing that could make all the difference. The securer your house and your room is, the more likely it is that the burglars will go elsewhere for easier pickings. Location is also crucially important. Staying near main roads and well lit areas again makes the burglar less likely to strike. Whilst sounding obvious, it’s sometimes better to pay a slightly higher rent to get a better position near to main areas purely for this purpose. In Fallowfield living close to the main road was by no way certain to k
            eep you free from harm, but the fewer roads and people there are around, the more violent the crimes tended to be. Personal safety is also crucially important. Again, most things are common sense, but many choose to ignore them. Most Unis will organise a talk to be given to Freshers about personal safety. For women, rape alarms are available free of charge in most places. However, in my experience, most personal crime seems to be against men, especially in student areas. These tend to occur after midnight, although there are exceptions. Mostly, these will be street robberies for things like mobile phones and cashcards. One important thing to remember is to try and avoid using cash-cards at just before midnight – thieves are more likely to strike then because they are able to gain 2 days worth of maximum withdrawals at, say, 11.59pm and 12.01am. When it comes to cash-cards, it is paramount that you don’t write your PIN number down as so many people I know did – this is just begging for trouble. It’s also useful to ask your bank to reduce the maximum withdrawal amounts from the default of £250 to something like £100 or even lower depending on your own requirements as this stops you from losing quite as much money should the worst come to the worst. Of course, not all crime can be stopped, you can only minimise the risk as much as possible - I always tried to remain conscious at all times of what was going on around me and avoided any potentially confrontational situations. Most of these tips can apply to everyone, but students just tend to be perceived as that bit more naïve and reckless (and generally richer) than everyone else, which is probably true. It’s also important to stress that Manchester is much like any other city, and I don’t think it deserves its worse reputation than, say, Leeds or Bristol. Anyway, in the style of Nick Ross, I shall say, take care,
            sleep well and don’t have nightmares...

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              02.02.2002 22:33
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              Although this opinion is in a student category it is not totally aimed at students. It should be helpful to many people out there and could save lives. This is not the most reassuring opinion I have written. I am sorry if I scare any students or put anyone off going to university but I feel as if we should face reality and the true stories should be told. Crime is part of life. Not a day goes by when you hear a story on the news about a murder or a mugging. For some people it is just a daily habit, pinching someones phone and causing misery to hundreds. I feel like a policeman writing this opinion. Every year a policeman comes to our university and explains the dangers of living in a big city away from home. Let's face it though some people are unfortunate and students are not always the victims. People often think students are an easy target. I am in my third year at university and I wouldn't agree more. I hear student crime stories all the time and many are not pleasant. So why are they an easy target? What have they got what other people haven't? I would say over 99% of students have got mobile phones, especially those living away from home. These seem the in fashion item to pinch at the moment. Also many students have mini discs or walkmans. Although we have no money we have a reputation for having the latest gadgets. Students have often moved away from home and are not familiar with the area. The bad guys now this and tend to take advantage of us. I think there are ways to lower your chances of becoming the next rippers' victim. Nothing is going to protect you completely. You cannot stay in your room forever or make sure you don't go anywhere alone. There are actions though that you can take to try and prevent the situation. There are many general safety tips that you will be warned of wherever you go whether you are a student or not. The thing is though if you are a student and have moved away from home
              then you face new dangers. I am at university in Wolverhampton. This may be well known for crime but still you don't expect to hear some stories that you do. The main student area of Wolverhampton has a big alley running through it. This alley gets quite a bit of criminal action throughout the year as there are numerous small alleyways branching off it. There are many places to hide and many places to commit a serious heartbreaking crime. However many students still walk through it at all times of the day. I recommend sticking to main roads where the area is busy even during the middle of the day. If you have to go anywhere at night by yourself make sure you get a taxi. This might cost money and you may think you cannot afford to eat away anymore at your overdraft but think about the consequences. If something happened you would not worry about your overdraft then, would you? I always say to myself if I cannot afford the taxi, I cannot afford to go out, as simple as that. Don't just get in any old taxi though; make sure you see I.D from the driver before getting in. I have got a personal safety alarm, which lets of a loud squeal when pulled. This only cost around £2.00 and are available from most universities and they could help prevent a nightmare. When you are going out for a drink make sure you keep guard of your drink constantly. These days many illegal substances are been put into peoples' drinks so they can be taken advantage off. If a stranger offers to buy you a drink turn the offer down. You might want a free drink but you don't want a free disgusting ride. This friend of a friend was in the city centre before Christmas and she got mugged right in front of everyone on a busy street. No one bothered to intervene and she was left on the floor with a broken nose and her belongings gone. She could have prevented this if she had not had a purse and mobile phone on show. She tried to fight them off and ended up with
              a visit to casualty. Make sure if you have a phone or a purse handy it does not look as if it can be taken from you easy. You may think once you are in your room at night you will be safe from the outside world. If you do not lock your doors how do you know someone is not going to walk in and attack you? You may live in halls and have a locked corridor door but it still doesn't mean no one will get in. My friend woke up in the middle of the night to find a man stood in her room rooting through her things. Luckily he just ran when she screamed but he still pinched her phones. Nowhere is classed as a safe place to live in student accommodation. Often we have had bogus callers into our halls pretending they are caretakers or electricians. This leads me to say do not let anyone in you do not recognise. If people require access to your halls they should have been given a key by reception or have university staff with them. Always check their I.D if they require access into your room and once they are in your room be careful you don't leave them with money or other important documents in easy access. If you choose to live in rented accommodation be careful when picking the house. Student safety is not just about crime it is also about fire and health. Before signing any papers make sure the house has safety certificates and it has been checked for carbon monoxide and gas leaks. You often hear the horror stories about how a house full of students died in the night because the landlord had neglected the house. Also make sure that each bedroom has locks on the doors and smoke alarms fitted. If you choose to rent without friends and are moving in with a bunch of strangers be careful about who they are. Not all students are sweet and innocent and may be criminals themselves. Remember that your so-called friends might not be as nice as you think they are. Someone I know moved in to a house with friends and discovered two months lat
              er he had a credit card bill for nearly a thousand pound. One of them had pinched his card and gone on a spending spree. Make sure you never leave a spare key outside your premises for anyone. The plant pot by the side of your door might look like a convenient location to put your key so mates can let themselves in but that is where the criminals will look first. Burglars love Christmas and it's not for the same reason as you and I. It is a well-known fact that many students go home for the Christmas holidays and many cannot carry their entire possessions home so they leave them in their room. When they get back after the holidays some of their rooms are bare. This is often a hard time of year to prevent burglaries happening but you can try and make it look as if you are home. You can buy timer switches, which can cause your lights to go off and come on at certain times. I suggest you close your curtains so the thief cannot look in. This will not make it obvious you are out as many students keep their curtains closed all the time anyway. As a student you have to be careful not to reveal your true identity to just anyone. If you are sitting on the bus for example and a complete stranger starts asking you questions make sure you don't give too much away and lie if necessary. I can remember being followed home one night and I pretended I was on the phone to my fiancé who was supposedly on his way to pick me up from outside a nearby pub. I went and waited in the door way and he quickly left. I think I have said enough. As several things have been mentioned in this opinion I feel a summarised list is needed. Never walk down alleyways alone. Always get taxis at night Buy yourself a personal alarm Look your doors at night Don't trust anyone Two last tips, be careful and get your possessions insured. Don't worry too much and enjoy life as a student.

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                01.02.2002 22:56
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                I started off at Dartmouth and got sidetracked by Saddam Hussein and then the War for Serbian Unity and when I got my life back in order I ended up at a dump of a UNI called University of Toledo in Ohio. I had faced T-72 tanks and Mujahadeen in my life but by far at this campus I was the most vulnerable and scared of any place ever. UT is in a ghetto of a rundown industrial town. They let in any trash for students and the criminals target the student body. There were numerous murders and rapes while I was there. The worst murder was when some security guard raped a student and shot her 17 times, consider this, his gun held 15 bullets and he shot her 17 times, kind of like that Camus story about killing an Arab. I sometimes used violence on people on campus but it wasn't like crime. I would beat up people for political reasons, like the time I ninja kicked a hippie off of his bicycle or the time I broke some Pakis nose for trying to burn the American Flag. But it is wrong when you get robbed or raped. The college bought an unused shopping center and put classrooms in an old Value City department store and it was a long walk through dense foliage to get there. One time these two blacks abducted two girls and raped them in a dumpster. That was big news. But the biggest problem that made students victims is the law that forbids carrying guns on campus. So anytime one of the savages would see a University parking sticker on your windscreen they knew you were unaramed and waiting to be victimized. Just like having a rental car in Florida tells the savages that you are an unarmed foreigner the sticker or college logo clothing told them you were a patsy. I wrote a long letter to the student paper declaring that I was going to pack heat on campus and went into great detail about my new Sig Sauer 229. It caused an uproar but everybody knew I was right. They had classes for women to teach them how to kick a guy in the jimmies an
                d run away and had these busted emergency phones all over but I knew nothing would have the impact of laying a robber out. So I sought the opportunity, I would stay late after class and wander slowly to my car. I wanted to kill one of these people that would prey on innocent young students. I had killed a number of people in Iraq and a lot more in Bosnia so it was no big deal to me. But I think like other animals such as dogs and bees criminals can smell fear and they know when someone isn't scared so they never approached me. But hell, we could not trust the public nor the police so what can a person do? The only way to keep a campus safe, unless it is like the citadel or VMI where all the studenst are cadets is to build a huge wall around it. You have to keep the negative element out. The Universities spend all sorts of money worrying about drinking binges and death by alcohol and this date-rape crap when nothing mortifies and scars people as much as being victimized by a stranger. I went to a stupid date rape thing and I told them women, I told them what rape really is about, it isn't deciding "no" the next morning, it is being brutalized by a stranger. They have all these security guards at a football game to make sure people don't throw cups on the field but there is nobody to protect you so you can go to class at night. It is a twisted system and it all boils down to you are alone in the world. Ain't no mace or kung fu lessons going to protect a person in this world. The only thing that can stop a criminal is a large caliber bullet. At least the universities have to publish their crime statistics now. Of course they all lie and deceive potential students. Another big story was about this idiot from my hometown who always rode around on his bike making siren sounds and peeping in windows. So he gets caught a zillion times for voyeurism. He turns around a gets a job in Michigan as a campus cop and then gets bust
                ed for sexual crap in a girls dorm. The Uni never checked him out before hiring the fox to guard the hen house. I thought we taught that bloke a lesson. when we were 11 and 12 we would walk around, a gang of like 10 of us with ball bats and chains and numchucks looking for him by his house. One day the cops followed us in a car before seeing we weren't fighting or heading down to fight the blacks, they roll down the window and the cop known as 2-dog asks us "What are you doing" and we said "Looking for D..... H....." the cop looks at our arsenal and replies "I hope you find him" All I am saying is in the USA you are alone. You have to protect yourself. It requires firepower. That is the answer. The criminals got guns so why can't the good citizens? When Bill clinton came to campus to speak he had secret service all over and they had guns. But I guess students don't deserve to be safe.

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                  01.02.2002 22:11
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                  One of the first things that was on my timetable when I first became a student was a talk on safety. This was not intended to frighten freshers, but rather to help us adapt to living away from home for the first time, and I have to say that it was the most useful of all events in my first week of university. I am now in my fourth year of studentdom and I have picked up plenty of useful information on the way, and fortunately nothing has ever happened to me or to anyone I know. That doesn’t mean it cant, though. This op is really a summary of what I have learnt, but remember that you should always insure your belongings regardless of how careful you are! IN HALLS - Always lock your door when you leave your room, even if it’s just for two minutes. I heard of one bloke in my college who had his Playstation stolen from his room when he had only popped out for a few moments, so it can happen in a short space of time. - Never leave the front door to your halls wedged open or unlocked, as anyone could get in. If you do see someone odd hanging around, speak to the porter or whoever is on duty in the building. - Never disable your smoke alarm; apart from the safety issues, the university could land you with a heavy fine (in my old college this was £100). - Lock your door after you go to bed. - If you do hear a fire alarm, always leave the building even if you think it is a drill and not the real thing. It is always a good idea to practice getting outside quickly, especially if it is dark and you are half asleep! Remember not to panic and never use lifts. LIVING OUT - When choosing a house to live in, look for safety features such as smoke alarms (not fitted to vertical or sloping surfaces as they work less well), lockable windows, security lights, dead locks on the doors and an alarm. Use all of these features, as it could affect your insurance (you might not be able to make a claim
                  if your house was broken into and you forgot to lock the door or set the alarm) and your safety. - Never overload electricity sockets with huge amounts of plugs, and always turn appliances off when you go to bed or leave the house. - If you have any gas appliances, check them out with a carbon monoxide detector. Most accommodation offices will lend or rent them to you, or at least be able to tell you where you can get them from. The detectors are very cheap (just a few pounds) and will tell you if the gas is being emitted; it is worth doing, as CO poisoning can be fatal. - Leave a key in your front and back doors at night. If you have a fire and need to get out, this means the doors can be open easily and you can get out quicker; it is very difficult to get a key into a lock in darkness. - Lots of students have new electrical equipment to put in their houses when they first move in. Bear in mind that if you put a big pile of new boxes outside for collection, you are advertising to the world exactly what new (and often expensive) items your house contains. Bring equipment in plain packaging, or fold up boxes and put them inside bins so they cannot be seen as easily. - During holidays, take expensive items home with you if possible. If this is not, consider putting them into storage while you are away, or locking them in a friend’s room in halls (which are usually more secure during vacations). Move anything that is left away from windows so they cannot be seen. Make sure all windows are locked before you leave and the alarm is on. Consider buying a timing device that turns your lights on and off at random intervals while the house is empty to give the impression that someone is home. IN GENERAL - Try not to walk around late at night by yourself: this goes for blokes as well as girls. Wherever possible, stay in groups or take a taxi home. If you have to be alone, carry an attack alarm wi
                  th you that should be available from the accommodation office again and cost around £10. - Carry a mobile phone with you, but be cautious about where you use it in case it gets stolen. If it is a pay-as-you-go model, keep the top up as low as you can so that you lose less money if it does get nicked. - Most universities have a transport service such as a nightbus that is a cheap, reliable and safe form of getting home. Some also have arrangements with taxi firms where you can give the driver your NUS card as a deposit if you have no money, which is then returned to you when you pay the bill. Find out what the arrangements for your university are so you can use them if you ever get stuck. - When going out to a pub or club never leave you drink unattended in case it gets spiked. - After dark, always walk in well-lit areas and avoid parks. Try to walk briskly and look confident, as this may help to deter a potential attacker. I hope all this doesn’t make anyone feel paranoid! Attacks and thefts are not that common, but it always pays to be careful and look after yourself. Universities are usually very keen to warn students of potential dangers, to give advice and provide services such as a nightbus whenever they can – it is up to individuals to make the most of these. If anyone has any other points to add I’d be interested to here them. :-)

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                    24.01.2002 20:40
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                    Everyone is at risk from crime nowadays. whether you are young or old, male or female. So why is it that students are seen to be more at risk? Some criminals target student areas as students are more likely to be careless and carry expensive items on them. Examples are mobile phones, portable CD players, bikes, watches and jewellery. One of the reasons I chose to go to cardiff University was that I had heard that it was a very safe place to live, despite being a capital city. However, since I have been there, at least once a week there has been an incident of a student being mugged or attacked. The university puts up lots of posters about student safety and tries to highlight what we can do to protect ourselves. So what can you do? You could lock yourself up in your room and never go out again to minimize your risk of crime. This is not realistic and we all want to go out whenever we want. So you cannot totally eliminate the risk of personal crime, but there are a number of actions you can take to make the risks much lower, and so that if anything does happen to you, you know the correct action to take. ** Going out at Night Alone ** We have all been there. Maybe you are going to walk to a pub to meet some friends, or walking home from a sports club. Students on the whole, can not afford taxis, so they are more likely to walk. So what can you do to protect yourself if you find yourself needing to go out alone in the dark? -Plan your route. Avoid alleyways, subways and unlit streets. It may take 5 more minutes to walk along the main road, but it is worth taking the extra time. Many muggings and attacks take place in locations that have been pre-planned-dark places where there are plenty of corners where the attacker can not be seen. Learn where the notorious areas are, and avoid them. I have been the victim of an attempted mugging in a subway myself and since then I rarely walk underneath them as I feel very vulnerable. <
                    br><br><br> -Have an Attack Alarm If you are at university or college, most student unions will stock these, and if they don't, ask them why not! In Cardiff they cost £1.50 which is well worth it. I haven't actually bought one yet (I do plan to) but I do borrow one at times. They are like a small box (the size of a pack of cigarettes) with a pin in. If you pull the pin out the alarm is activated, it is very loud and shrieking. If you do have one of these, make sure you hold it in your hand when you are walking alone, it is no good at the bottom of your bag! If the worst happens and you are attacked, pull the pin out and hopefully the attacker will run away because of all the noise and attention it attracts. Hold it right up to his/her ear for full effectiveness. I have to point out that it is mostly girls that have these alarms, however I think boys should have them too. -Go on a bike Not everyone agrees with me on this, but I often travel on my bike if I have to go out at night. Not only is it quicker, but I feel a lot safer as if I am riding my bike on the road, it would be very difficult for anyone to grab me. If you do choose to use your bike at night, don't forget your lights! ** Be streetwise ** Corny phrase,I know. Personally I have always been very independent, and living in Birmingham I have had and seen my fair share of unpleasant street crimes, from muggings to stabbings. Other people go away to university in a big city having lived in a rural, fairly safe place all their life. These are the people who are more at risk! -Be Horrible This sounds silly. But if someone approaches you in the street, do what I do and say "no thanks" and walk off. Or just ignore them. Obviously use your own judgement, if it's an old lady and it's 11 in the morning this advice is not applicable. But if it's early evening and a bloke is trying to talk to you at the bus sto
                    p, ignore him or walk off. Yes, he may be harmless-he may also be a rapist. When I was 14 I was waiting to meet my friend in town. (Gross story following, sorry) There was a man sitting in the bus shelter who kept looking at me strangely. I just ignored him, but I realised after a while that he was actually playing with himself. This actually really affected me, it made me feel really dirty and sick. Forget about being nice, walk away. A few weeks ago there was a story in the university newspaper of a student who had been approached by a teenage girl in Cardiff Central Station, saying she had no money and needed to get home. The student took her back to her halls of residence and lent her £30, which the girl promised to send her. Then the poor student was surprised when the girl never got in touch. DUH! Maybe you all think I'm a heartless cow, but you need to use your common sense. It's the nice people in this world who get used and trodden all over, and the sensible harsh ones who get on. ** Be Careful ** When you are on an night out, drinking, you can do silly things (I should know, and no I'm not going to share any with you!). Such things including losing your friends, sharing taxis with strangers, going home with a man/woman you don't know. You can try to blame it on the drink. But if you get raped and have all your money taken from you, are you going to blame it all on the drink? You are the only person who can protect your own safety. Here's my tips for nights out... If you are going to a large club where it is likely you may get lost, arrange with your friends that you will meet at a particular time at an obvious place, such as the front door of the club. Stick to it. Watch your drink! If someone offers to buy you a drink, go with them to the bar! I used to work in a bar and whilst I was collecting the glasses I saw a pint of lager with a tablet at the bottom. The woman whose pint it was had n
                    o idea, someone had spiked her drink. This is becoming more common, drugs such as E or GHB can be slipped in drinks as well as "date rape" drugs such as Rohypnol. If you suspect that your drink has been spiked-you may feel very drunk or drowsy after only a few drinks-tell someone. Tell a friend or a bouncer at the bar/club. But most importantly, don't let the sitation happen in the first place by holding onto your drink and keeping an eye on it. If you tend to go out and get so drunk you don't know what you are doing, think about why. You are seriously putting your safety at risk. You can't always expect other people to make sure nothing happens to you and if you are always pissed out of your head, people are going to get fed up of you. I don't mean to preach, but when you are drunk anyone can take advantage of you and you are an easy target to be mugged. So look after yourself. Look after your friends. If you have gone out with just one friend, and you pull, don't be a bitch and just leave your mate to make their own way home. Pre-arrange how to get home and stick to it. If you have met a really nice bloke/girl, they will appreciate you looking out for your friends. Your friends will not appreciate you dumping them for some bloke/girl you have just met. Think about how you would feel if anything happened to your friend. If you are going to get a taxi home, phone up and book one. Do not just get into one on the street. I used to go to a club in Birmingham every Thursday (The Dome) and when you came out at the end, there were loads of "taxis" outside. Mostly unlicensed, uninsured drivers who just want an extra few quid. They don't care about your safety. If you go in an unlicensed cab and there is an accident, there will be no insurance payout. There have also been many news reports of girls being assaulted by these bogus cab firms. Find out how much a taxi will cost and keep that money
                    aside somewhere safe (I usually stick a tenner in my bra!) If you don' have enough money on you, most taxi drivers will wait while you run into your hose to get the money. -When Travelling- Most students travel around the country a lot, going home or visiting friends. You may use the train or coach or even plane. Be aware of your safety when travelling. On the coach, sit close to the driver and be careful of what you reveal. No, I don't mean your VPL, but the equipment you may have. If you reveal to the whole coach that you have a laptop, a CD player and a mobile phone on you, any prospective mugger will see the easy pickings on offer-when you get off the coach you may be struggling with your bag and disorientated. Keep equipment tucked away! On the train, try to sit in a carriage with other people, if female try to sit in a carriage with at least one other female. On all public transport, if you speak on your mobile phone, be aware of what you are saying-don't give too much away about yourself and your circumstances. Example-saying to your Mum "I'm a bit worried about walking all the way home on my own when I get off the train". Well now the whole train/bus/whatever knows that you will be alone. -Learn to Lie- A few years ago, I was waiting for a bus when a car drew up besides me. A man got out and started talking to me, asking me to go for a "ride" with him in his car. It was dark and there were no people around, and I was scared. I thought quickly, and told him I was waiting for my boyfriend to come and pick me up, who would be there in a few minutes. That got rid of him! I have heard a story about a girl who was being followed. She went up to the nearest house, banged on the door and shouted "Dean, Max, John, there's this guy following me!" Clever girl, methinks. Be inventive and think on your feet. Always be aware of your surrounding, do
                    n't lose yourself in your personal CD player as anybody could grab you from beind. ** safety in Halls ** Most halls have good security. I feel very safe in mine as there are three locks to get through before my bedroom, plus we have a security guard by the gate.Not everyone is this lucky though. Do not prop doors open as anyone could walk in unchallenged. Lock your bedroom door when you go out. If you are on the ground floor, do not leave objects on your window sill when the window is open. ** Take Self Defence Classes ** These are a great idea, I did a short course at school and I am thinking about doing another one. As a small girl, I feel vulnerable as I do look a bit weak and defenceless. Self Defence Classes help you to get fit, improve your confidence, and know the "moves" to do if you are attacked. The main points I remember are -stick your fingers in their eye -knee them in the balls -use the back of your hand to sharply push their chin up Ask at your university/college, or sports centre for information on any classes they run. To finish up, I would say not to worry to much, just like they say at the end of Crimewatch. You do see a lot in the papers about violent crime rates, but that's because they are *news*. Do as much as you can to protect yourself and then just relax and enjoy yourself. Safety comes in numbers and there are certainly enough students to make up those numbers!

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