Your first few weeks
Starting university or college can be a wonderful and exciting experience, but it can also bring its own unique challenges. It is completely natural to feel nervous or overwhelmed during your first few weeks, but our main advice is to take care of yourself. Below is some student safety advice you can take to help you settle in and adjust to student life:
• Familiarise yourself with the local area as soon as you can.
• Build relationships with your flat mates and swap mobile phone numbers.
• Find out where your local police station and hospital are and save the police non-emergency number 101 in your phone
• Save the numbers of reputable taxi firms in your phone.
• Save the numbers of your flatmates in your mobile phone in the event you get locked out of your flat who may be able to let you back in.
If you are living away from home, it’s a good idea to take steps that will help keep you safe whilst on campus and out and about in the city.
It’s important to have fun, but don’t forget to look after yourself and others:
• Never accept drinks from strangers.
• Don’t leave your drink unattended.
• Try to alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks.
• Know your drinking limits. Alcohol lowers your guard and may affect your judgement and decision making.
• Stay with your group of friends and look out for each other.
• Plan your journey in advance, including the journey home. Try to travel with other people you know if possible.
• Make sure you have extra money in case you get stranded or miss the last bus or train.
• Avoid shortcuts and isolated areas.
• Stay away from confrontational situations.
If you are meeting someone for the first time or generally feel unsafe then by simply, asking for “Angela” at a bar alerts staff members that you feel uncomfortable, where they can then discreetly call for a taxi or help in other ways.
Student Safety Advice – Property
There are simple measures you can take to keep yourself and your property safe.
• Keep your doors and windows locked wherever you are out. By leaving your flat door or windows open, this could be a risk to you and your flatmates and personal belongings could go missing which we cannot accept liability for.
• Be mindful of tailgaters and do not let any unknown persons into the building. If you see anyone acting suspicious, report this to the Hospitality Office during working hours, outside of office hours contact the police (dial 101) if you consider this to be a danger to your welfare.
• Secure your bicycle. Double locking is the best protection for locking any bike. Whatever the type of lock, look for the SBD logo or “Gold Secure”
• Secure your bike as close to the stand as possible to give little or no room to manoeuvre.
• Lock the frame and both wheels to the cycle parking stand.
• Locks are considered vulnerable when they come into contact with the ground, so keep them off the floor.
• Bikes are stored at your own risk, we cannot accept liability for any damage or loss incurred and please ensure your bike is covered by contents insurance.
If your building has a car park and you have made arrangements with the Hospitality team to park your car, here is some student safety advice on how to help prevent your car from being broken into.
• Always lock your car. Popping back into the building to get something are perfect examples of how easy it is to turn your back for a moment and forget your vehicle is unsecured. So get into the habit of locking your vehicle even if you’re only going to be away from it for a moment.
• If your vehicle has wing mirrors that fold in automatically when locked, make sure you lock it properly. Criminal gangs are looking for vehicles like these where the wing mirrors are still out because it is clear to them that the vehicle has been left unlocked.
• Close windows and the sunroof. Leaving windows and the sunroof open invites fishing for items through the gap by hand or with, say, a bent coat hanger, which could also be used to unlock a door for them to get in.
• Remove your belongings or hide them. Your mobile phone, coins for the car park, sunglasses, packs of medication or other items that can earn quick cash. Remember, the cost of replacing a window is often much more than that of what’s stolen. And it should go without saying that wallets, handbags, purses and credit cards should never be left in an unattended vehicle.
• Hide any electrical items. Leaving sat nav mounts, suction cup marks on windows or cables on view gives it away that you have left a Sat Nav, smartphone or other device in your car. Even if they can’t see the Sat Nav or iPad they might still break in to see if it’s stored in the car, out of sight.
• Cars are parked at your own risk and we cannot accept liability for any accidents, damage or loss incurred.
Mobile phone security
Keep your phone locked at all times – Lock screen with passcode, pattern, fingerprint or facial recognition. Lock when idle for 30 seconds to one minute.
Set secure passwords – Set strong passwords with uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. Set a different password for each app.
Keep your devices updated – Make sure that your devices are updated with the latest software. Here’s how:
• OS > General > software update
• Android > about phone > system update
Connect to secure wifi – Beware of networks that aren’t password-protected and use a VPN.
Beware of downloads – Use verified app stores. Look at app reviews, recent updates and contact information.
Encrypt your data – Your smartphone holds a lot of data. If it is lost or stolen your emails, contacts, financial information and more can be at risk. To protect your mobile phone data.
Install anti-virus software – This can protect against viruses, malware and hackers.
Don’t jailbreak or root your phone – This is when you unlock your phone – This is when you unlock your phone and remove safety features making it less secure and easy to hack.
Enable apps to find and track mobile phones
The internet and social networking sites are great for connecting with other people. However, it is important to think carefully about what you’re posting, and who has access to it.
• Never disclose private information such as your phone number or address to others or on online sites.
• If you arrange to meet someone in person that you have met online make sure you meet in a populated public space. Do not accept lifts from the person you are meeting. Tell a friend or family member where you are going and what time you expect to return.
• Do not send compromising or explicit images or videos irrespective of what is sent to you. It may be a sexploitation scam..
• When using social networks be aware that much of the information becomes public by default and is easy to search for.
• Avoid posting personal details or anything that could be used to steal your identity.
• Assess your privacy settings on your social networking sites so that only friends can see your personal information.