Personal Safety

Cheshire is a safe place to live and the chance that you or a member of your family will be a victim of violent crime is low. Although the news often seems full of stories of violent crime, crimes of this nature are still comparatively rare and account for a very small part of recorded crime.

When these types of crime occur it can be costly to a person in terms of material loss, personal stress and intimidation. However, as the majority of crime is opportunistic it is by no means inevitable and may be avoided by taking sensible precautions.

Cheshire remains a safe place to live and a safe place to be out and about in, however there are some steps that could be taken to reduce the risk of becoming the victim of a crime whilst outdoors. Most of these steps are simply common sense and you probably do a lot of them already without thinking twice.

  • At night try to avoid taking risky shortcuts through back alleys, parks or waste grounds. Where possible stick to pavements or well-lit areas.
  • Walk facing traffic so as you can see what's heading towards you and so a car cannot pull up behind you unnoticed.
  • If you regularly walk home or go out jogging try to vary your routes (without taking risky shortcuts)
  • Wearing earphones is common practice these days and can make walks or jogging more entertaining, however be aware the earphones may appear attractive to potential attackers, damage your hearing and reduce your alertness to your surroundings.
  • If you are carrying a bag make sure the clasp is facing inwards, all zips are closed correctly and all pockets closed. If your bag is snatched let it go, your safety is more important than your property.
  • If you have expensive items on you such as jewellery or a mobile phone, keep them out of sight.
  • If you are threatened by a person, scream and shout or set off a personal attack alarm to startle the attacker giving you vital seconds to escape. Try to make note of details such as registration plates, clothing, height etc. and then report the incident to the police.

Starting University is exciting and you should enjoy being a student but be aware that criminals see you as easy targets. There is no need to panic just follow our advice to stay safe and you will have the most enjoyable university experience possible. This guide has been produced for your information based on other student’s experiences and the problems the police regularly have to deal with.

A few hints and tips

  • Purchase contents insurance before you get there - do you really want your new laptop being stolen in your first week?
  • Make sure you have secure door and window locks - half of break ins are through unlocked doors and windows. In the long run you will save yourself time and hassle just by double checking that all windows and doors are securely locked
  • Use a UV pen to mark your possessions with your name and student ID number - this is the first thing police look for when handling stolen goods, therefore if your stolen property is recovered you’re more likely to get it back
  • Make sure you have a map of the campus - so you know where you are going and are not wandering around lost late at night. Looking lost and drunk makes you an easy target for predators
  • Carry around a personal alarm with you at all times, if you are walking alone late at night carry it in your hand
  • Have a list of emergency contacts - make your housemates aware of these numbers
  • If you need to use a cash machine try and do so during the day and go with a friend
  • If something does happen report it to the police and campus authorities immediately - you could prevent it happening to someone else.

Stay safe when drinking 

Drink spiking is on the increase, people do it to be funny or leave you vulnerable to attack. It only takes 15 minutes for the effects of "rape drugs" to take affect but they can wipe out 8 hours of memory. There is a common myth that only women get their drinks spiked but men's drinks get spiked too. The  tips below can help keep you safer when drinking:

  • Don’t accept a drink from a stranger - you don’t know what they may have put in it
  • Leave your drink with someone you trust when you go to the toilet or go for a dance
  • If you suddenly feel odd or unusually drunk, ask a friend to take you home
  • Look out for your friends make sure you all get home safely, if one of you is driving ask them to be the ‘designated drinks watcher’.

Look after your property

  • Don’t just think about doing it - use a UV pen to write your name and student ID number on all your valuables
  • Keep a record of the make, model and serial numbers of electrical equipment too
  • If you have a laptop don’t carry it around with you if you can help it, if you do have it on you, disguise how you transport it. Use your common sense and don’t leave it on display
  • A lot of students decide to cycle to University which is a great way to save money however if you don’t want your bike to be stolen make sure you have a secure lock on it. Additionally it is a good idea to mark your bike with a UV pen
  • If you have your mobile phone stolen it makes it a lot easier to cancel if your phone is registered and you have a record of your IMEI number. To cancel your phone you can simply call 08701 123 123. For more information on handset security contact the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum on 020 78778 9864.
  • It’s obvious, yet still the majority of cars that are stolen are ones that have been left unlocked. Make sure you always lock your car and never leave the keys in the ignition, even when you are filling up with petrol. Think about where you are parking - is it safe? Why not invest in a steering wheel lock, it will cost you less in the long run. As with all thefts don’t give thieves the incentive by leaving things on display i.e. CDs.
  • When you are visiting cash machines always go in daylight in a built up area. Make sure you cover your pin with your hand as you enter it and only get out what cash you need for that day.

When shopping online be aware of using websites that do not display the secure site symbol at the bottom of the page. Additionally if you have online banking try and avoid logging in on public computers.

All the taxis and public transport of Cheshire are highly regulated making them a very safe way of getting from A to B and by taking small precautions you can make them even safer.

  • On trains or buses try and sit amongst people and steer clear of empty carriages where possible. If you get on an empty bus sit near the driver or conductor
  • Try to stay away from isolated and dark bus stops
  • On trains check to see where the emergency chains, buttons and exits are
  • Do not get in a private hire vehicle unless you have pre-booked it through a registered company as you will not be insured should anything happen and it would be very difficult to track your whereabouts. You may however hail a taxi (usually a black cab) on the street
  • When in a taxi or black cab take note of the driver’s details which should be displayed on his badge along with the taxi number. To be extra safe you could text a friend the details
  • When you arrive at your destination ask the driver to wait until you are inside.

Cheshire as a county has a lot of roads running through it and we spend a great deal of time on the road. You will be familiar with basic safety rules like wearing a seatbelt at all times, stopping distances etc. but there are measures you can take to ensure that you are safer in your car.

  • Let somebody know where you are going and what time you are planning on returning so they can raise an alert should anything happen.
  • Keep personal belongings like bags out of sight and the doors locked at all times.
  • Park in well-lit areas or designated car parks; don't take unnecessary risks by parking in secluded areas as there is more of a chance that your car may be broken into.
  • On approaching your car have your keys ready so as you can get into the car quickly and lock the doors, most car crime is opportunistic so being prepared reduces the risk of becoming a victim.
  • Do not pick up hitch hikers or offer any strangers a lift.
  • If you are using a sat nav, make sure when you have parked that it is out of sight and clean any marks off the window where the sucker has been.

Sponsored Events in Snowdonia - Top Tips on Safety

With sponsored walks and charity events becoming ever more popular, those responsible for patrolling the mountains and responding to call-outs are eager to spread the safety message so that participants can enjoy the experience of walking in Snowdonia’s mountains and raising money for their favourite charity, safely and responsibly.

As part of the wider MountainSafe campaign, Snowdonia National Park Authority Warden, Gruff Owen has issued his top five tips for those considering taking part in events on the mountains. They are as follows:

  • Prepare well in advance - make sure all event participants understand the challenge they are facing and are properly equipped for the mountain environment. The Snowdonia National Park Authority website has a comprehensive route guide along with information on mountain safety.
  • Check the Met Office‘s Snowdonia Mountain Weather Forecast and don’t be afraid to cancel your event if you’re not prepared for the conditions. There are plenty of good, alternative low-level walks in Snowdonia which are just as enjoyable but without the inherent risk of encountering hazardous weather on Snowdonia’s summits.
  • Stay together – you are only as strong as your weakest member. Consider the whole group and don’t leave someone struggling behind you.
  • Remember – mountain rescuers are volunteers. As an event organiser, take every precaution to avoid an incident and have an emergency action plan in place. Do your best to deal with non-serious incidents yourself. Mountain rescue is an emergency service that should only be called out in an emergency and remember, you’re not guaranteed a mobile signal in the mountains.
  • Respect the mountain, local communities and other mountain users. The increasing number of large events taking place in Snowdonia inevitably has its effect. Follow the Countryside Code, take your litter home and be aware of your responsibilities by reading the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Practice.