Winter is in full swing, which means longer, darker nights across campus. PC Julie is back with some advice on personal safety.

Hello everyone and may I wish you all a happy and safe new year!

This month I want to talk to you about personal safety. Universities are often seen as an easy target for those looking to commit a crime – be that theft of valuables from student halls or the library, selling drugs, or assault.

Recently there have been some incidents where students have been harassed on campus, especially females who are on their own late at night. If you’re walking alone in the dark you’re much more at risk of becoming a target of crime, so please protect yourself and reduce this risk by following these tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings – plan your route in advance, stick to lit pathways and don’t listen to music – you won’t be able to hear someone approaching if you have your headphones in!
  • Avoid walking alone late at night at all costs – if you must walk try to walk with friends, or take an alternative form of transport like the bus or taxi. RUSU’s safe taxi scheme means you can get home even if you’ve got no cash.
  • Save the University Security number in your phone and use their chaperone service – if you’re walking alone on campus you can call Security on 0118 378 7799 (0118 378 6300 in an emergency) to let them know your route and they will track you on camera until you’ve safely reached your destination. There are over 600 cameras on campus and the University’s experienced team can reach you in minutes if you need help.

Since the beginning of the academic year, we’ve also seen an increase in thefts from the Library. Students are still leaving personal possessions on desks while going to the toilet or getting a coffee. We have had laptops and purses stolen, so please do not leave your valuables unattended when studying.

Drugs also continue to be a concern. Last year we had a bad batch of Class A drugs in the Reading area which caused death to users (non-students). Drugs ruin lives and future careers so please be sensible and do not make yourself a victim.

I’m looking forward to 2019 and seeing what it brings. Please do come and say hello to me and other police officers when you see us around campus.

PC Julie Susel