Back to School! How to stay safe when returning to school or starting University in a new city.
Back to school or starting University in a new city? Here’s the top 10 safety tips from our WalkSafe experts on how to protect yourself when journeying to and from your place of education:
Be prepared & plan your route
Plan your route in advance and think about what to take with you. You can use our WalkSafe unique map feature which reveals the latest crime hot spots so you can avoid those.
Be fully charged
Ensure your mobile phone is charged and your home location is initiated on the WalkSafe App.
Be assertive and look confident
From the moment you step out onto the street, look assertive and act and walk with confidence. This will always make you appear in control and much less vulnerable.
Using a mobile phone, whether making a call or texting, wearing a hood or listening to loud music, all affect your awareness of your surroundings.
Keep your valuables including your mobile phone, other devices and jewellery, hidden. Remember, out of sight, out of mind. If carrying a laptop use a rucksack rather than a lap top bag, this will make you far less vulnerable to theft.
Go against the flow
When walking on the pavement, always face oncoming traffic, as it will make it far more difficult for thieves to ride up from behind and snatch your property. But still also be aware of anyone approaching from ahead of you.
Trust your instincts
Try to avoid walking alone at night in places such as parks and side streets, or any unfamiliar environment. Stick to busy places where there is a lot of activity, CCTV and good lighting. Try to walk in the centre of the pavement. Always keep away from secluded alleyways and buildings. If a vehicle pulls up next to you, never approach, but walk in the opposite direction. Cross the street and head for areas where there are people or an open business premises, if still feeling threatened, call the police and wait until the threat has gone. Remember our Tap feature is there for you to use if you feel threatened.
Safety in numbers
Can you share transport or walk together with friends? You are much safer in a group than on your own.
Taxis and public transport
Pre-book a licensed taxi as it’s bound to be busy and if you plan to use public transport to get home, try to wait at a bus stop in a well-lit area and sit near the driver when you board, If taking the train, tram or tube, choose a busy carriage. Always check the latest times when making a journey as these can always be subject to change.
If feeling threatened, remember your voice is one form of defence - use it, don’t be afraid to shout for help.
ICE - In Case of Emergency
Enter an ‘Ice’ contact into your mobile phone. ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. This contact will help Emergency Services contact an appropriate person for you should it ever be required.
If you’re starting at University, whether in a new city or not that means it’s almost time for freshers week! We have advice from our WalkSafe experts:
Keep your mobile charged - Battery life is vital so you can always communicate. Make sure the low data mode is on during nights out or moving around campus to not waste battery.
Safety in numbers - Stay in groups and avoid walking off on your own.
Agree a group meet point - If your meeting people not in your halls or house or think you may be separated on a night out it is important to establish a meeting point In case a member of the group loses a phone/gets stolen/battery dies and they can’t be contacted.
Stick with well-lit, busy areas - When moving to and from the event/club/night out.
Have fun but remember alcohol and drugs - Can seriously affect your ability to judge a situation or to react swiftly in an emergency.
Don’t leave any drink unattended - Any drink can be spiked with drugs or alcohol so be careful.
If you’re a victim of crime - Immediately seek and contact the police or University security. Report any incident, even near misses, as soon as possible.
Alarms - As well as the WalkSafe app consider taking a personal alarm and as we said earlier make a noise by shouting if you’re in danger.
Keep a note of emergency numbers - Losing a bank card or need urgent help make a note so you can call them immediately.
Don’t Overshare – University is great to make lifelong friends and develop special relationships which everyone at WalkSafe wants for you but be wary about handing out your details especially to those not in your halls or house straight away.