Today, students have more high value consumer goods per head than the rest of the population; 66% own a computer or laptop, 86% have a mobile phone and many have their own TV, stereo and car.
Starting university can be a very unnerving time, but we want it to be one of the best experiences of your life. Moving away from home and starting university you may find yourself with new responsibilities and facing unfamiliar situations. Click the links below to check out the information on this page which offers some simple steps to help you avoid becoming a victim of crime.
Out and About
While it is primarily females who fear crime the most, males between the ages of 16 – 24 are more likely to be the victim of crime, especially violent crime.
Late night walking
- Keep to well lit streets
- Avoid shortcuts through dark alleys
- Arrange to make your journey home with friends
- Walk confidently and with purpose and try to look as if you know where you are going
- Be aware of your surroundings – a personal stereo or too much alcohol can distract you
- Always carry change, a phone card or a mobile phone
- Don’t take glasses or bottles onto the street (Gloucester city centre is an alcohol free zone)
- Carry your bag close to you with the clasp facing inwards and a strap over your shoulder
- Carry your house keys in your pocket
- Cover up expensive looking jewellery
- If someone grabs your bag, let it go – your safety is more important than your property
- Carry a personal attack alarm. These are available from DIY stores or your local police station
- Make sure your friends aren’t left to walk home alone. Go out together, come home together – Use a registered taxi or private hire vehicle or use the late night bus service
NB It should be noted that there is a difference between a taxi and a private hire vehicle. A private hire vehicle must only be used if it has been pre booked. A taxi can be hailed in the street although it is preferable to book it in advance.
- Try to vary your route and the time that you exercise
- Stick to well lit pavements and roads
- Keep to main paths and open spaces where you can see and be seen
- Avoid wooded areas
- Wear light or reflective clothing
- Remember that if you wear a personal stereo, you can’t hear traffic or a person approaching from behind
- Carry a personal attack alarm
- Try to go to the cashpoint in daylight.
- Go with a friend if possible
- Don’t use cashpoints when you have been drinking
- If you see someone suspicious hanging around the cashpoint, walk away and go back later
- Look around before inserting your card
- Only withdraw what you need – don’t walk around with bundles of cash in your pockets
- Don’t count your money in full view of strangers
- Always conceal your PIN number
- Take your phone to a mobile phone security marking session during Freshers Week
- Ensure you record your IMEI number (dial *#06#), phone number, service provider and PIN number and keep the details in a safe place
- Be aware of what’s happening around you as a mobile phone is very attractive to a thief
- Avoid texting or talking on your mobile in crowded areas where it can be easily snatched from you
- If your mobile phone is lost or stolen, call the central service provider contact number 08701 123 123. This will enable them to quickly isolate your mobile so it cannot be used to make or receive calls
You wouldn’t flash your cash, so don’t flash your mobile
If you think you are being followed
Check by crossing the street - more than once if necessary - to see if they follow. If you are still worried, go to the nearest place where there are other people - look for a pub or anywhere with a lot of lights on - and call the police. Don't call from a phone box where the attacker could trap you inside.
If a car slows down or stops beside you and you feel threatened, scream and shout, and set off your personal attack alarm if you have one. Get away as quickly as you can. This will gain you vital seconds and make it more difficult for the car driver to follow. If you can, make a mental note of the number plate and description of the car and write down details as soon as possible afterwards.
If the Worst Happens
Only you can decide whether to fight back, but preparing yourself for all possibilities could provide a split-second advantage.
Think of what you would do if someone attacked you. Could you fight back, or would you avoid resisting and wait to escape?
If someone threatens you, shout and scream for help and set off your personal attack alarm if you have one. This may unnerve the attacker and frighten him or her off.
You have every right to defend yourself, using reasonable force, with items you might have with you, like an umbrella, hairspray or keys, which can be used against an attacker. However, the law doesn't allow you to carry anything that can be described as an offensive weapon (e.g. knives, mace, etc.).
If you can, avoid confrontational situations - if you feel someone is hassling you or trying to provoke you, - it's better to walk away than get involved.
Out and About
While it is primarily females who fear crime the most, males between the ages of 16 – 24 are more likely to be the victim of crime, especially violent crime.
- Know your limit – don’t ever feel pressurised to drink out of your depth
- Space your drinks – have a non alcoholic drink every other time you go to the bar
- Eat before you go out
- Watch out for alcohol free zones in the city centre
- Avoid drinking to excess
- Do not drink too much of anything with which you are unfamiliar
- Never accept a drink off someone you’ve just met
- Watch your drink. Don’t leave it unattended
- Stay away from situations you don’t feel comfortable with
- Where possible drink from a bottle and keep your thumb over the top
- If you suspect that your drink has been spiked, inform a member of staff immediately
- Remember, drug rape happens to men as well as women
- A Pubwatch scheme operates in Gloucester. If you misbehave and are banned from a pub or club you will be banned from all pubs and clubs in the area. Lose your pub – lose your mates!
All drugs carry risks. Depending on what is taken, effects can range from headaches, feeling faint and sick to mental health problems, organ damage, fatal poisoning. It is worth bearing the following points in mind:
The user can never be sure of exactly what they are taking. What is bought is unlikely to be pure, you won’t know what it has been mixed with. Not knowing the strength of what has been bought could lead to accidental overdose. It is often very dangerous to mix different drugs, this includes taking a drug and drinking alcohol. If needles, syringes or other injecting equipment are shared, there is a serious risk of dangerous infections being spread such as HIV and hepatitis B or C. Injecting can also damage veins.
In addition unlawful possession of a controlled drug is a criminal offence. This still includes Cannabis. A drugs conviction can cause problems obtaining a travel visa to enter some countries. It can also affect job prospects. An employer may check if an applicant has a criminal record or any past convictions.
In student accommodation there will be separate rules and regulations regarding the possession and use of drugs and illegal substances – see the documentation issued by your college or university.
If you would like more information about an alcohol or drug problem, you can contact Turning Point on 0300 123 1512. Turning Point provide information, advice and support for people who are concerned about their own or someone else’s substance misuse, all services are free and confidential. Further information can be obtained from their website http://www.turning-point.co.uk/gloucester.aspx
Halls of residence
- Dependant on what type of accommodation you are living in, different measures will need to be taken to protect your property
Your halls may have their own security arrangements, but it’s still worth following these tips:
- Lock your room or bedroom door even if you are just going down the corridor
- Make sure main entrance doors and gates close behind you
- Don’t let people follow you in unless you know who they are
- Don’t leave cash or valuables on display in your room
- If on the ground floor, don’t put your TV, laptop or other valuables where they can be seen from the window
Get to know who lives in your hall. That way you will be able to recognise any suspicious people roaming around.
- When choosing a house, if possible select one with strong doors with good quality locks on doors and ground floor windows
- Burglar alarms and security lighting also act as deterrents
- Leave a light or radio on when going out to give the impression that someone is in the property
- During the Christmas, Easter and summer vacations take all items of value home with you
- Ask a neighbour or friend to keep an eye on your property whilst you are away
- Don’t leave spare keys outside or in a garage or shed
- Get your property insured
- Do not let people into your property without first checking who they are. All official bodies will carry full identification so ask to see identification cards and call the appropriate company if you remain unsure. If in doubt, do not let anyone into your property.
Property marking is a very useful and cheap way to identify your property in the event of it being stolen. Make a list of your personal property including the serial number and description. Use an ultraviolet pen to mark electrical and other items with your home postcode & house number. Not only will it make it easier to trace stolen property but it can help police gain evidence about offenders.
Protect Your Identity
Identity theft occurs when an individual’s personal or confidential information is obtained by another person without their knowledge.
There are many ways this can be done, the most commonly known being “bin raiding” where the fraudster searches through rubbish for personal information. Other methods include online, postal or telephone scams to get personal information and the theft of mail.
How to Prevent It
- Store any personal documents such as your driving licence, passport, bank statement and bills in a safe place
- Shred or destroy any documents containing personal details before throwing away
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly
- Use different passwords and PIN’s for different accounts and never divulge them to anyone else
- Ensure your computer is protected before going online
It may be difficult to protect your car or bike from a determined professional thief, but most vehicle crime is opportunist and you can put them off with vigilance and relatively cheap security precautions.
Nationally, over 100,000 bicycles are reported stolen every year. They are a popular target for thieves because they can easily be sold.
- Get your bike frame marked with your postcode
- Always lock your bicycle whenever you leave it even when just going into a shop. The best kind of cycle lock is a D-lock. Chains can deter casual thieves but can be easily cut with the right equipment.
- Always lock your bike to something solid, preferably a purpose built cycle rack
- If you have quick release wheels, take off the front wheel and lock it to the frame and back wheel
- Remove smaller parts and accessories, especially lights, pumps and quick release saddles
- Record all of your bike’s details including a photograph. These will assist the police who may be able to match them to recovered bicycles.
- Register your bicycle free of charge at www.bikeregister.com
"Over a quarter of all recorded crimes are car thefts or theft from cars - of items like stereos and mobile phones"
If your car is stolen or broken into, it could mean weeks of expensive inconvenience and losing your no-claims bonus. And what would you do if your course notes and lap-top were taken with the car?
- Never leave a car unlocked or a window, boot or sunroof open - even when just going into a shop for a moment or two
- Don't leave belongings in your car - A thief won't know that a bag or coat doesn't contain something valuable and might break a window to get at it. Never leave things on display - lock them in the boot
- Sat navs are very desirable to the thief. Always remove them and take them with you. Remove the bracket and wipe away the tell tale suction mark from the windscreen
- Security mark your stereo and, if it's removable, always take it with you. Make a note of the serial number and keep it in a safe place
- Don't leave credit cards or cheque books in the glove compartment
- If you have high value wheels fit lockable wheel nuts and fuel cap. Fit an anti -theft device - and use it every time you park.
- If you have an alarm turn it on every time you park.
- Never leave your vehicle documents in the car - they could help a thief to sell it.
- Remove the ignition key and engage the steering lock - even when leaving the vehicle for a short time such as to pay for petrol.
- Always try to park in a well lit, open location.
- Have the car's registration number etched on all glass surfaces - windows, headlamps, and sunroof - Thieves don't want the expense of replacement.
- There are many types of car security devices on the market - from steering wheel and clutch pedal locks to sophisticated electronic protection. Check whether it is Sold Secure approved, before you buy. www.soldsecure.com
In some student accommodation there may be restrictions on bringing and parking cars near where you live.
Motorbikes and Scooters
Motorcycles are a target for both opportup>With 30% of all finist and professional thieves, who steal bikes for resale, or for the market in motorcycle parts. Take the same measures for parking as with cars.
- Always lock up your motorbike when you leave it. Put the steering lock on, and whenever possible use a steel cable, padlock or D-lock to attach it to an immovable object or another motorcycle.
- Fit an alarm, available from DIY or bike shops. Some shops and dealers offer discounts on security devices when you buy a motorcycle or other equipment.
With 30% of all fires starting as a result of cooking, good fire safety comes from developing good habits. One of the main messages that the Fire Service promote is “Don't leave your cooking unattended”, no matter whether you live in Halls or rented accommodation. This is especially true in halls of residence where Automatic Fire Alarms are particularly sensitive and burnt cooking (usually toast) results in large numbers of unwanted fire calls, which is expensive and puts a strain on local fire cover.
Do you have a smoke alarm?
Does it work? If no, then check with your landlord or Student Welfare officer.
Would you know what to do? If a fire started where you live? Plan your escape route now so in the event of a fire, you should Get Out, Stay Out and call 999.
Students should consider insuring the belongings, and remember to back up (and keep somewhere different) any work or research that you may be doing.
- Never dry wet articles of clothing near or on electric heater
- If you want mood lighting invest in something safe – avoid using candles
- Avoid overloading sockets. Plug items directly into the wall.
- Do not interfere with fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. They are there to save lives.
- Never prop open a fire door.
- Good fire safety comes from developing good habits.
Noise from neighbours is a common source of nuisance and for some people it can be very
upsetting. Remember that no house or flat is totally soundproof, everyone can expect a degree
of noise from neighbours. If you are being disturbed by excessive noise from neighbours you should first approach them and explain politely that you are being troubled by the noise. Although you may find this difficult to do, it is surprising how often neighbours are unaware of the unhappiness they are causing.
If you get no success this way contact the local Environmental Health Department at the Council who are able to deal with problems such as barking dogs, loud music, live entertainment, loud T.V and D.I.Y noise.
You will be required to keep a log of all the incidents of noise that affect you for a couple of weeks and return them to the Council. An officer will then assesses them and if they feel further action can be taken, write to your neighbours asking them to reduce the noise levels. If the noise continues, an officer will try to witness the alleged nuisance from your property. If he/she is satisfied that a statutory noise nuisance exists or is likely to occur or recur, an abatement notice will be served which prohibits or restricts the noise from happening again.
Breaching the notice is a criminal offence. The person specified on the notice can be prosecuted in a Magistrates Court for up to £5,000. Noise making equipment can also be seized. This includes MP3 and CD players and CDs, TV’s, games consoles and games. Legal action is unpleasant and will inevitably sour the relationship between you and your neighbour further.
REMEMBER if a complaint is made about you causing noise, Environmental Health will investigate you in the same way.
If you are causing a nuisance what can you do to help?
- Do not put speakers on and position them away from communal walls
- Make sure you can hear the doorbell over the music or TV
- Keep volume levels low especially late at night
- Inform neighbours if you are having a party
- Do not use your washing machine or tumble dryer late at night
Above all, be reasonable if your neighbour approaches you with a problem.
The Gloucestershire Constabulary and Gloucestershire Hate Crime & Incident Strategic Group are committed to dealing with all incidents in a positive manner and have adopted the following categories by which to group and record incidents;
- Age (including Young and Old)
- Disability (including Mental Health)
- Gender (including Transgendered)
- Race (including Ethnicity)
- Religion or Belief
- Sexual Orientation (including Lesbian, Gay and Bi-sexual)
- Any other group identity
A Hate Crime is defined as;
‘Any Hate incident, (an incident perceived by the victim, or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate’), which constitutes a criminal offence.
Report all crimes and incidents to:
Gloucestershire Police 101 (In an emergency 999)
Gloucestershire Hate Crime ‘Report it’ freephone 0800 077 8460
Being different is not a crime, victimisation is……..
For many students, the first time away from home means sexual freedom. Sex and relationships involve give and take. But there’s giving and there’s giving in – either to pressure or to your lack of self control. Don’t make stupid decisions. Stay alert. With the right information and advice you shouldn’t put yourself at any risk. Take time to consider your sexual health – when it comes to sex, always use a condom.
- If you do have unprotected sex or your contraceptive has failed you can get emergency contraception to prevent a pregnancy. The emergency contraception pill is now available in pharmacies, sexual health clinics, accident and emergency, midwives and out of hours surgeries so you don’t have to go to the doctors. If you find yourself in this situation, some chemists in Gloucester give the emergency contraception pill free to under 25's.
- If it is more than 72 hours since you had unprotected sex but no more than 5 days, you can be fitted with an IUD (a coil) which has the same effect as emergency contraception. There are occasions when a coil can be fitted after 5 days, contact your contraception clinic to ask.
- If you are in any doubt – don’t. Never feel pressured into having sexual intercourse
- If you do get pregnant, go and seek advice from your GP or sexual health clinic as soon as possible. This will give you the options early on.
- No one has an excuse not to use a condom. They are free from all sexual health clincs and other specialist agencies throughout the city who are happy to help.
- There are at least 25 sexually transmitted infections. When it comes to sex, always use a condom. That’s not advice; that’s survival.
For any advice on sexual health matters, go to one of the Sexual Health Clinics listed in the Contacts below.
The numbers are as follows:
Gloucester Hope House Sexual Health Clinic 08454 226201 or 08454 226470
Stroud Family Planning – 01453 766331
Stonehouse – 01453 562120
Wotton Under Edge - 01453 562 350
Dursley – 01453 562050
Coleford – 01594 598050
Lydney – 01594 598240
Cinderford – 01594 598000
Cheltenham – 08454 222374 and 08454 224279
All Sexual Health clinics incorporate Contraception (family planning) Genito Urinary Medicine Pregnancy Advisory Clinic.