10 mistakes students make that risks their safety

The life of a University student involves partying, travelling and exploring. But one cannot be too remiss while doing any of the above activities. The Metropolitan Police set up their stall during the Fresher’s Fair at the University of Westminster, to highlight tips on personal safety.

According to the student survival guide, available at their stall, one out of every three students ends up being a victim of a crime. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an international student or from the UK, opportunist criminals are always on the look – out. So make sure ‘you’ are not their next victim.

Harrow Safer Transport Team

PHOTO COURTESY : SANJANA RAMAN

“Most students fail to look out for one another, and let their guard down because they’re with their friends.” says PC Nick Perry.

The police furnished some practical tips keeping in mind the personal safety of students and how to protect their valuables:

  1. Wearing a coat without zipped pockets – Rather than being fashionably correct, it is prudent to wear a coat with zipped pockets, since you will notice if someone tries to steal the valuables from your pockets.
  1. Walking and texting – This habit is hard to break. More so for university students. Texting and walking whether its in an empty lane or a busy street is a common sight. But being aware of your ambience instead of your phone will go a long way in personal safety.
  1. Listening to music, while travelling – It’s tempting to get lost in your own world, while travelling or taking a walk, but the police rebuke such behaviour. You are blissfully unaware of your surroundings, which could put you in danger.
  1. Standing in dimly- lit areas – Walking and travelling at night is unavoidable in many situations. But its best to stand in well-lit areas and busy thoroughfares to reduce your chances of being the victim of a crime. Remember if no one can see you, no one can come to your aid.
  1. Placing your bag on your side – It’s fashionable to put your bag on your back, or wear itover your shoulder, but this makes it only easier for thieves to steal your belongings. When your bag is worn in the front, it is in your line of sight, making it harder for anyone to steal any item.
  1. Try to avoid advertising your belongings – College students often use their expensive phones, laptops and wear expensive clothes while travelling. What may appear to be a reasonably/low priced product to you, may seem invaluable to another person.
  1. Hiring unlicensed cabs – While returning home during wee hours of the night, after partying, NEVER get into an unlicensed minicab. Always book a minicab prior to your journey or use a licensed black cab.
  1. Be aware of spiked drinks! Don’t turn your back on your drink, after placing it on the table. It’s not just women, men’s drink gets spiked as well. While drinking, consider using a ‘Spikey bottle stopper’ which fits into the mouth of the bottle and has a hole in the middle for a straw. This reduces the risk of your drink from being spiked.
  1. Insure your valuables – Register all your valuables on immobilise.com and make sure you have photographic evidence of those valuables. Your valuables, which include, laptops, mobile phones, and even your bikes can be registered on this website.

PCSO Thomas Jones, from the Harrow Safer Transport Team said, “Please pay attention to your surroundings and be aware when out and about. The simple steps we have mentioned will go a long way to keep you safe on London’s streets. However, if you do experience difficulties call 999 immediately!”

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