Socialising is a very important part of university for most students, but it is also one of the times when they may put themselves at the most risk. Make the most of your university experience by taking a few simple steps to stay safer when you are out.
Prepare before you set off
Research the best way to get home before you go out. If you are using mapping software, remember to change the time, so that you can see what options are available to you in the middle of the night, or else you might find yourself stranded.
If you are staying over at a friend’s house, make sure that you know the address of the place where you are stay, so that you can get back there easily. Always stick to well lit, populated areas if you do have to walk home – taking a shortcut just isn’t worth it. If you decide to use a taxi, always book with a registered company.
Set money aside for transport home
Although it can be tempting to spend every last penny of your money on enjoying the night, you may regret your actions when you are standing in the freezing cold, unable to afford the bus fare home. Never rely on friend’s being able to lend you money for the fare, because you could get separated from them.
Travel with a friend where possible
Always stick with at least one friend if you can. Groups of people are less vulnerable and less likely to be approached, as long as they are behaving in a civil manner. However, if your group begins to do anything that you feel uncomfortable with; do not feel pressured into tagging along. Take a registered taxi home, or meet other friends.
Only take out the money that you need
Taking large amounts of cash on a night out can make you a target, especially if you get it all out every time you go to the bar. If you do use the cash machine whilst you are out, put your money away safely as soon as you can, and be aware of people who might be watching you.
If you are worried about drinking too much, only take a small amount of money with you, so that you can’t buy more. Drinking too much alcohol can make you more vulnerable.
Never accept drinks from strangers
Although most people who offer to get you a drink are just being generous, it is possible that they may have an ulterior motive. If a person is able to slip something into your drink, it can make you particularly vulnerable. The substances which are used for this purpose are normally clear, colourless and tasteless, so you will not be aware of their presence.
Whilst many people think that drugging only happens to women, men are also susceptible, so be careful. If you do decide to accept a drink, go to the bar with them, so that you can get the drink straight from the person behind the bar serving. Do not leave your drink unattended at any time.
Whether you take out a big bag, or whether you prefer to keep things in your pockets, make sure that you know where your essential items are, and be able to find them quickly in an emergency. Standing outside your door searching for your keys for a long time can put you in a very vulnerable position. Once you are inside, lock the doors behind you straight away, so that no one can simply follow you in.