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    Staying Safe in a New City

    Manchester is widely considered to be one of the most vibrant, exciting and diverse places to study in the whole of the UK. We have miles of city centre to explore, cultural experiences on every corner and enough restaurants, bars and nightlife to keep you entertained for years! But while our students will generally tell you they feel safe and secure when out and about in the city, occasionally, crime slightly tarnishes our otherwise thriving city.

    While we have a number of schemes in the city to help our residents feel safe, our fair pavements are not immune to thefts and unscrupulous individuals who can pry on the student population. Luckily, crime is something you’re unlikely to experience during your time with us in Manchester, but keeping vigilant and thinking smart is always good practice.

    There’s a popular saying: ‘prevention is better than cure’. We couldn’t agree more so if you’re planning on coming to Manchester, or you’re already part of our student community, we’ve compiled the need-to-know tips that will help keep you, your property and your belongings secure.

    Home and Property Security

    Unfortunately, student properties can be one of the most lucrative targets for potential thieves for the simple fact that students tend to have a number of electricals. Considering these desirable gadgets might be in abundance in every student’s room, it’s easy to see why student properties can be easy pickings for burglars.

    Many students are well aware of the importance of home security, but the nature of communal housing or halls makes it easier for doors to be left unlocked and strangers to enter multi  occupancy buildings. Keeping your home secure is surprisingly simple, but it takes vigilance on the part of every tenant to ensure your property doesn’t become easy pickings.

    • Don’t make it easy for them. It sounds simple, but always lock doors, in a multi occupancy house it’s all too easy for someone to forget and put everybody at risk, schedule a house meeting to ensure everyone is vigilant.
    • The same goes for windows, ground level cellar windows can be especially vulnerable, always contact your landlord if you feel the doors and windows aren’t adequately secure in your property.
    • Home insurance may seem like a further expense, but the cost of replacing stolen items far exceeds insurance payments. Always shop around for good deals with reputable companies and check to see if you’re covered by your parents insurance. Finally, always check the insurance small print, if the worst thing happens the last thing you want to hear is that you weren’t covered for the items you thought!
    • Document your property. Writing down serial numbers and taking photos of smaller items such as jewellery is useful for insurance purposes if the worst does happen. Keeping details of your electrical items is incredibly useful for tracking your property if it does get stolen.
    • Consider marking items with your postcode using a UV pen (these can be purchased from stationery shops or are often given out free at student fairs). This makes identifying stolen items easier.
    • Keep important documents safe and shred personal correspondence before throwing it away, identity thieves aren’t above rifling through bins.
    • Even though you’re probably on a fairly tight budget where utility bills are concerned, investing in a low cost light timer can stop your house looking an empty (and easy) target while you’re out at night. These can be purchased cheaply from most hardware stores.
    • Bike thefts are common in the city centre and often thieves won’t be put off by busy areas. Always invest in a secure lock (‘D’ locks are generally good choices) and lock the bike at the frame and wheels.
    • If at all possible, always take your bike into the building with you, bike thefts are too common to take chances and locking a bike to an inside point e.g. a radiator pipe is recommended.

    Personal Safety

    Having your property stolen is a horrible experience, but personal attacks can be much more traumatic. We’re sure you use your common sense and refrain from walking alone at night and alway staying alert, but sometimes a little bit of inside knowledge from graduates can help you go the extra mile when keeping yourself safe.

    • Although you may be sensible when drinking alcohol, the intoxicating effects can sneak up quickly if you’re drinking on a night out.
    • Never leave your drink unattended – in some bars you can get special inserts that are placed in bottlenecks to stop people ‘spiking’ your drink.
    • Don’t accept drinks from strangers or at least check you’ve seen the bar staff pour it and pass it directly to you.
    • Stay with your friends and arrange a meeting point in case you get separated.
    • Always plan on how you are getting home – store useful taxi numbers in your phone and never get in unlicensed mini cabs. Black Hackney carriages are licensed for flagging down, but again if you’re on your own ringing a reputable company is always wise, some companies will even tell you the reg, make, model and colour of your car. When your taxi arrives always check the driver asks for you by name before getting in.
    • If arriving home after dark, ensure your taxi driver waits while you safely enter your house.
    • It sounds obvious, but given that students fall victim to this type of crime we felt we should flag it up – don’t advertise your phone or possessions when walking down the street!
    • If you ever suspect you’re being followed, cross the street. This will alert someone on foot you’re aware of them and will cause a car to have to turn around.
    • Alternatively, go into the nearest business, and remember, if you ever feel threatened, scream, run or set off a personal alarm. Drawing attention to the situation is the last thing any attacker wants.
    • If using public transport late at night, try to sit near the driver or in a busy carriage.

    Crime will probably be something you never have to experience, and we want to keep it that way. Manchester City Council have further information on personal safety and useful contact numbers to put you at ease. We’re appreciating the best of Manchester, not the tiny minority out to spoil the experience!

    If you’re looking to study an English language course in Manchester, get in touch with our friendly teams at New College Manchester. If our past students are anything to go by, our courses and city living are an experience not to be missed!