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Students crime prevention advice


Answer

There are several websites that give sound advice about this topic. Listed below are a comprehensive sample of the steps that can be taken to ensure your personal safety:

  • Never leave your bag or coat unattended in a pub or nightclub, it is an ideal place for thieves.
  • Never leave your drink unattended, as it is very easy for someone to put an illegal substance in your drink, which could have very serious consequences for you.
  • Always make sure you know how you are going to get home after a night out. It is best to travel home with friends and not on your own.
  • Book a taxi home before going out, do not flag down a taxi as you cannot be sure they are a licensed cab driver.
  • Avoid any confrontation or fighting, if someone is threatening you, tell a door supervisor but do not get involved.
  • Never accept a drink from a stranger. Go with the person to the bar if you want to accept a drink.

In general though, wherever you are try and remember the following suggestions:

  • Do not walk home alone late at night. If you do, choose well-lit main roads and walk confidently.
  • If someone does grab your bag fighting back is not always a good idea, you do not know if your attacker has a weapon.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Reading and listening to music can be distracting.
  • In a busy public place, try to only use your mobile phone in an emergency as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone and whilst using it you are distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
  • If you are attacked it is often better to shout fire rather than help, it tends to attract more attention.


Answer

Here are some personal safety tips to follow if you are out and about:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Be careful when reading or listening to music as this can be distracting.
  • In a busy place, try to use your mobile phone in emergencies only as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone. Whilst using your phone you are distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
  • Try to avoid walking home alone late at night. If you do, choose well-lit main roads and walk confidently.
  • If someone tries to take something from you, it may be better to let them take it rather than getting into a confrontation and risk injury.
  • If you are involved in a confrontation, reasonable force may be appropriate when used in self-defence (please see the link in Related Information for further guidance).


Answer

Listed below are a few points which will help to ensure you and your belongings are safe:

  • Keep bags closed and secure at all times.
  • Conceal your wallet or purse in a buttoned or zipped pocket where it doesn't bulge.
  • Avoid putting valuables such as phones, wallets or purses in your back pocket.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash with you when shopping.
  • Keep pin numbers secure, do not write them down.
  • If the fastening of your handbag is on the side, keep the side with the fastening closest to your body and not exposed.
  • Rucksack type bags with the opening on the back are not a good place to keep valuables as they are easily opened.
  • Keep your purse or wallet at the bottom of your bag.
  • Do not carry too many bags of shopping as it makes you vulnerable against pick pockets.
  • Do not hang bags on the back of a chair.

Here are some general personal safety tips to follow when you are out and about:

  • Do not walk home alone late at night. If you do, choose well-lit main roads and walk confidently.
  • If someone does grab your bag fighting back is not always a good idea, you do not know if your attacker has a weapon.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Reading or listening to music can be distracting.
  • In a busy public place, try to only use your mobile phone in an emergency as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone, and whilst using it you may be distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
  • Carry a personal safety alarm.
  • If you are worried or threatened on public transport, contact the guard or the British Transport Police.
  • If you are attacked it is often better to shout 'fire' rather than 'help', it tends to attract more attention.


Answer

When travelling on public transport, the companies themselves issue a lot of advice particularly in the stations or on the buses and trains themselves. However, it is worth bearing in mind the following general advice when travelling:

  • Always sit downstairs on a bus, as near to the driver as possible.
  • On a train try not to sit in an empty compartment.
  • Make sure you keep hold of all personal belongings.
  • If something or someone is bothering you, inform the guard or driver, they can stay with you if you feel uncomfortable 
  • Try and have your fare ready so you don't have to get out your purse/wallet.

In relation to general personal safety try and remember the following suggestions:

  • Try not to walk alone late at night and where possible choose well-lit main roads and walk confidently.
  • If someone does grab your bag fighting back is not always a good idea, you do not know if your attacker has a weapon.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Reading or listening to music can be distracting.
  • In a busy public place, try to use your mobile phone only in an emergency as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone. Whilst using your mobile phone you may be distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
  • If you are attacked it is often better to shout 'fire' rather than 'help', it tends to attract more attention.


Answer

The only fully legal self-defence product at the moment is a rape alarm. These are not expensive and can be bought from most local police stations or supermarkets.

There are other self-defence products that claim to be legal (e.g. non toxic sprays), however, until a test case is brought before the court, we cannot confirm their legality or endorse them. If you purchase one you must be aware that if you are stopped by the police and have it in your possession there is always a possibility that you will be arrested and detained until the product, its contents and legality can be verified.

However, accepting there is a lot of concern about street crime, we can try to clarify matters a little by putting forward the following points.

  • You must not get a product that is made or adapted to cause a person injury. Possession of such a product in public (and in private in specific circumstances) is against the law.
  • There are products that squirt a relatively safe, brightly coloured dye (as opposed to a pepper spray). A properly designed product of this nature, used in the way it is intended, should not be able to cause an injury. However, if an injury does occur, this may be assault.
  • Any products bought from abroad have a greater chance of being illegal.

The above advice is given in good faith, you must make your own decision and this website cannot be held responsible for the consequences of the possession, use or misuse of any self-defence product. See Q85 for information on the use of reasonable force.


Answer

It is much easier to steal a mobile phone when it is in use or on display. When you are using your mobile phone in a public place try and be aware of your surroundings and anyone that is perhaps stood close to you. In order to help prevent theft of your mobile phone keep it in a secure place on your person or in your bag.

You should also protectively mark your mobile phone. For further information on protective marking see the related question.

You should keep your contract or mobile phone box with the IMEI/serial number on it, in a safe place as the police will need to see evidence that you owned the phone, in the event that it is stolen. The contract or box are the only means of evidence the police will accept. A recent bill or delivery note will not be sufficient.

The IMEI/serial number on your phone is a number that is unique to your mobile phone. To find out what your IMEI number is type *#06# into your phone.
See the websites in Related Information for more information.


Answer

If you are a shop owner or employee and you know or suspect the person who has passed it to you, put the note in a bag to preserve any fingerprint evidence and hand the note into the nearest police station. If there is no suspect the police may not get involved and you should therefore hand the note into a bank.

As a shop owner/business owner you should contact your local crime prevention officer who will be able to advise you on preventing further instances of this happening, and can ascertain whether there are any other shops or businesses in the area that has received any so that appropriate action can be taken. Also see the website in Related Information for more details.

If you are a customer and have been passed a forged bank note in your change, hand the forged bank note into the local police station and give the details, if at all possible, of where you were given it. The police will keep the note as evidence.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES try to use or pass on a forged bank note to someone else, the penalty could be up to 10 years in prison and it just isn't worth the risk.


Answer

There are several options to solve this problem, but in all cases, you will have to prove ownership of the bike before anyone can stamp it. You may be able to get your pedal cycle stamped at:

  • Your local bicycle dealer.
  • Some DIY stores, who do sell kits that perform the function, and
  • Your local police force may be able to provide this service.


Answer

The police target communities within their force area that have a high number of reported burglaries and thefts. They will also give precedence to vulnerable members of the community.

To see if you are eligible, contact a crime prevention officer for your police area.

See the website in Related Information for suggestions of measures you can take yourself and other tips on home security.


Answer

Yes, you can mark the property yourself and there are lots of different products available, however we cannot recommend any specific products. Try Googling 'crime prevention marking' or something similar, but make sure you buy from a reliable source with which you are comfortable. Alternatively, speak to your local crime prevention department (via 101) who should be able to help you and some times they have campaigns during which they give away suitable markers.

Your insurance company may also be able to suggest products. For further information and other suggestions on making property more secure, please see links in Related Information.


Answer

People are being increasingly targeted via social networking sites. Anybody who can get access to your personal information can do this; whether it is a former partner/friend or someone you have never met before. This is why it is extremely important to protect yourself when using sites such as Facebook /Twitter.
You should always be cautious about including any of the following information:

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Telephone numbers/Email addresses;
  • Education / Employment information;
  • Photographs which may show your home and any valuables you may own;
  • Date of Birth;
  • Status updates/comments which may state when you are not at home, when you are going on holiday, what expensive items you have recently bought etc.

Be wary of including 'friends of friends' in your privacy settings, as this effectively allows anybody, to view your information. The anonymity of the internet makes it easy for people to lie about their identity; so be wary of accepting strangers who send you a friend request. They could be pretending to be someone else (e.g. lying about their gender/age) in order to persuade another person to agree to meet up with them, when in actual fact they have criminal intentions.

Also, if you add someone who you do not know, they may begin to ask you questions over time and aim conversations to particular subjects, in order to find out more information about you. If they already have your email address, they could log in to that account using the information you have given them and answer your security questions/reset your passwords. Once they have done this and have access to your personal emails, they could be gaining access to your bank details, online shopping accounts, PayPal etc. and use these to take money from your accounts or buy goods in your name.

'Internet matters' and 'Cyberstreet Wise' are websites that offer advice on using social networking securely and what safeguarding measures to take. You will find links to these, and other helpful websites, in the related information section.


Answer

Yes they are. The best type of external light is one that stays on all the time. Any intruder that has made up their mind to break into a property will more than likely not be put off by lights that are triggered by movement. If the light is on all the time then it may make them think twice before attempting to break into the property. For further information on home security, please see the links in Related Information.


Answer

Here are a few tips on how to make your home more secure:

  • Install a visual burglar alarm.
  • Install windows and doors that have a key operated lock.
  • Tell a trusted neighbour if you are going on holiday; ask if they would perhaps draw the curtains on an evening.
  • Consider joining your local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
  • Have a chain and a peephole on your door/s.
  • Lock the garden shed.
  • Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house. Do not leave any window open.
  • Remember to double-lock UPVC doors (lift handle and turn the key).
  • Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you're just out in the garden.
  • Keep all keys out of view, in a place where you can quickly find them.
  • Fit a restrictor to your letterbox.
  • Put your lights or a radio on a timer when you are out in the evening.
  • Mark your property with a postcode and a house number, then register it with Immobilise. See www.immobilise.com, which is a free website where you can register any property that has a serial number.

For detailed advice on making your home secure, please see Related Information. The Crime Prevention Officer at your local police force will also be able to assist.


Answer

It is very unlikely that you will be confronted by an intruder in your own home, but should this happen, you can use 'reasonable force' to protect yourself, your family or your property. Please see guidance and information on what constitutes 'reasonable force' against intruders in Related Information. You can also get this information in a leaflet from your local police force.


Answer

Whilst driving around in the car, keep all doors locked. This will prevent people from getting into the car when you stop at traffic lights or junctions.

If driving late at night, make sure someone knows what time to expect you home.

Before setting off on a long journey, make sure you have enough petrol, water, oil etc in your car.

If you park or leave your car, take any valuables with you. If you cannot take your valuables with you, do not leave them on view in your car.

Park your car in a well-lit and secure car park.

When parking at your house at night, make sure you have your house keys at the ready.

If you think someone is following you home, never go home, drive straight to the nearest police station. If you do not know where the nearest police station is, drive to a place where you know there will be people, such as a shop or petrol station.

In general, wherever you are:

  • Do not walk home alone late at night. If you do then choose well-lit main roads and walk confidently.
  • If someone does grab your bag fighting back is not always a good idea, you do not know if your attacker has a weapon.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Reading and listening to music can be distracting.
  • In a busy public place, try to only use your mobile phone in an emergency as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone and whilst using it you may be distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
  • If you are attacked it is often better to shout fire rather than help, it tends to attract more attention.

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