Over the last couple of months, Northumbria police attended freshers events held at Sunderland, Newcastle and Northumbria university, handing out information for first year students about staying safe in halls of residence and staying safe on a night’s out.
The cards provide simple facts on drinking, the dangers of spiking and advice to keeping homes safe.
Campus police officers at the University of Sunderland have been working closely with students to reinforce crime prevention, also offering general safety advice to students living away from home for the first time.
PC Dan McGwinn, who is leading the operation, said: “Many students assume they are safe living in the halls of residence. However, they need to take care of the simplest things, such as shutting windows and not leaving electronics on show.
“One of our biggest issues is car break-ins: students need to remember to hide valuables when leaving cars and to park in safe places, mainly campus car parks.
“While many of the students feel comfortable with police on campus, it is important to reinforce crime prevention advice as crime still does happen.”
Halls of residences have also been fitted with shock alarms – small clip-on alarms fitted to windows on ground floor rooms – as deterrents. The alarms sound off if anyone interferes with the window.
Northumbria police have also increased awareness of drink spiking with increased patrols around student areas. Campus police have also been reinforcing ‘Drink Spikeys’ in bars around campus. ‘Drink Spikeys’ seal bottles to prevent illegal substances being placed into a drink.
Students have been appreciative of the help, with many saying it’s been and excellent help in the transition moving away from home.
Amy Richardson, a student from University of Sunderland, said: “when I first joined Sunderland University I was always worried about leaving my car a long time in campus car parks, now I feel more comfortable about the safety of my car and use the car parks all the time now”.
Skyla Pearce, a law student from Northumbria university said: “The help by the police has been excellent, it’s made me feel safe moving away from home, it feels like one big community.
“Seeing officers attend university events reassures me and makes me feel safe around campus.”
Daniel McGwinn can be contacted 24/7 with any inquires, via a special number students receive when they enrol or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org