The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Be smart and be safe this Freshers’ Week

With Freshers’ Week looming, make sure you know how to keep you and your friends safe on the streets of Manchester

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As Freshers’ 2016 gets underway, thousands of students both new and old will be heading out to enjoy events at bars and clubs all over Manchester. While it is a fun and exciting time to enjoy our city’s nightlife, it’s also a time to be more cautious than ever when it comes to keeping safe. Manchester is one of the biggest cities in the country and boasts one of the largest student populations in Europe, and unfortunately statistics show that 1 in 10 students will be a victim of crime during their time at university. A big night out can be an unforgettable experience but it’s important to make sure that it’s unforgettable for the right reasons. Here are our top five ways to keep yourself and your friends safe whilst having the time of your life.

 

1. Having your bag stolen on a night out can be more than just a night ruiner. Wearing a cross body bag with a secure zip or fastening is a great way to prevent thieves from seeing you as a target. Make sure to take only what you need and not to take any unnecessary expensive possessions with you. It’s also a great idea to have some money in a safe place—maybe an inside pocket or even tucked in your bra.  This means that if the worst does happen, you can always get yourself home.

2. It’s best to make any journeys with other people as it’s true that there is safety in numbers. If this isn’t possible then always make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you expect to be back. There are also a number of ingenious apps such as ‘Companion’ which allows you be walked home virtually by a person of your choosing, for example a parent, partner or housemate.

The app allows you to tell your ‘companion’ that you’ll be heading out alone and then with just one tap you can alert them that you are safe and have reached your destination. You can also tell them if you feel nervous or if there is an emergency and you need urgent help. It also gives you the option to contact the police directly. The Companion app is available free on the app store.

3. Manchester has no shortage of safe, convenient ways to get home. The popular choice is the Magic Bus which runs throughout the night and you can hop on with a unirider or pay £1 before midnight or £2.50 after. Another option is the Uber app which allows you to see the model of the car as well as the driver and their name, this is amazing for providing peace of mind when getting in a car… especially when you’re not 100% sober. The Students’ Union also runs a night-time shuttle bus service from the Learning Commons to your door for between £2 and £4—or just hand in your student card and pay later.

4. Make sure to stay in brightly lit areas and avoid quiet areas away from main roads. It’s preferable to add a few extra minutes to your walk home if it means walking down a well-lit, busy road rather than venturing down a dark, sketchy looking alley.

If you have to, make sure to have a source of light handy such as your phone’s torch or a handy keyring. Having your keys ready when you arrive home will also help get you safely inside as quickly as possible so you can be downing a pint of water and snuggling into your bed in no time (or polishing off your kebab, we won’t judge you).

5. Finally, if you do become a victim of crime it is important to know what to do. If you have a problem with an individual, get away as quickly as you can without engaging with any problematic behaviour. If someone attempts to take something from you, it is best to let it go as staying safe is more important than material possessions.

If you feel your safety is under immediate threat, it’s a great idea to utilise a personal alarm such as the Mini Minder Keyring (£3.75 from personalalarms.com) in order to attract the attention of others. Another option is to ask for help from the number of local businesses who are designated ‘Student Safety Zones’; a full list can be accessed via the Manchester City Council website. Crimes committed against you are not your fault and you should never be reluctant to report incidents to the police.

 

Welcome Week is one of the most exciting times in a student’s life as you are settling into a new place and making new friends. Making sure that you’re aware of both your own and other’s safety is the best way to avoid your memories of this week being ruined by the actions of others and that Welcome Week 2016 is a time you can look back on with a smile.