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Student safety – knowing how to keep yourself and your belongings safe

PC talking to a young member of the public

It’s an exciting time in Avon and Somerset as some 80,000 students return to our region’s universities.

We want students to enjoy their time here without stress or worry so here are our tips on how to stay safe and protect yourself and your property as you settle into student life.

Keeping your possessions safe

When you move to university, you’ll likely bring valuable possessions with you such as mobile phones, laptops, hard drives, TVs and bicycles.  Criminals are well-aware that this is the case. Having property stolen can be upsetting, disruptive and expensive, so help to deter burglars and opportunistic thieves by:

Securing your property

  • Make sure all doors and windows are shut and locked before going out – even if you don’t plan to be gone long
  • Use opening limiters on ground floor windows
  • Always keep valuable items out of sight and out of arm’s reach of windows – especially important if you have a ground floor room
  • Consider drawing curtains before you leave
  • Don’t let people you don’t know into the building – beware of tailgaters and alert security if you don’t feel comfortable challenging someone you don’t recognise
  • Keep a record of valuable items and register them with www.immobilise.com or use Selecta DNA to mark your property
  • If you can, invest in a small room safe for your valuables

Be aware in communal and public areas

An item being stolen from an open bag
  • Never leave property unattended, including in communal areas such as cafes and libraries
  • Consider cyber security if logging onto ‘free wifi’ in a café etc.  How sensitive is the data you are sharing with potential hackers?
  • Keep bags on your person closed and don’t make it easy for pick pockets by ensuring your phone, purse, room fob/keys and any I.D. can’t easily be lifted from your bag/backpack

Keep your cycle safe

  • Get your bike marked (Universities and Police often hold marking events for free) and registered on Bike Register
  • Use a good quality D Lock (Gold standard or above) and secure both the front wheel and frame to a cycle stand or solid fixing in a well-lit area
  • Remove any detachable accessories when you go such as saddles etc.
  • Always secure and lock your bicycle – even in a communal hallway/landing
  • Find more advice here:  Keeping your bike secure

Nights out at university should be fun. Help to keep them that way by:

Keeping yourself and your friends safe

  • Stay with your group of friends
  • Look out for each other and make sure everyone gets home safely
  • Avoid poorly lit or isolated streets. If somewhere makes you feel unsafe you can report it using the StreetSafe tool
  • Plan ahead for your journey and how you will get home, ideally travelling with friends
  • Never leave your drinks unattended or accept drinks from strangers to deter drink-spiking
  • If you notice anything suspicious, report it to a staff member of the bar/pub and to police

We’re here to help keep you safe.  Our officers are regularly out on patrol, so if you see us, please say hello and ask for any advice you need. You can find out who your local neighbourhood or university officers are here: Your area | Avon and Somerset Police

If you have been, or think you have been, a victim of a crime, report it.

Always call 999 if:

  • you or someone else is in immediate danger
  • if the crime is in progress
  • if you need police help immediately

Otherwise call us on our non-emergency number: 101.  You can also report to us online here.

If you have information that you think we should be aware of, please call us on 101 or visit our website to make a report.

Alternatively you can report information anonymously by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers UK on 0800 555 111 and access non-judgemental information about crime and criminality via Fearless, which is part of Crimestoppers, at Home – Fearless.