Moving to university can often mean you are living independently for the first time in your life. Sure, this is an exciting prospect but one that requires lots of thought, with many different things to weigh up. As university campuses are often located in city centres, student safety is one of the biggest considerations.
City centres are busy, vibrant places with an abundance of leisure activities and open spaces to explore. You may be making the move from the suburbs to your local city centre or expanding your horizons by moving to a brand new location.
Whichever move you are making, being safe and secure within your surroundings is of paramount importance. To ensure you’re prepared, we’ve compiled a helpful guide below filled with handy student safety tips, tricks and resources to assist you ahead of your move.
Research all your potential accommodation options
Cities that are home to universities generally have a diverse range of accommodation offerings. In your first year at uni, you are likely to live in halls of residence, better known as uni halls. Carrying out prior research on all your accommodation options is essential.
The first priority to consider is the location. Prioritise in your mind what you think is most important for you. Is it in close proximity to all the local amenities you need? Is the location of the residence in a safe area? Have a look at crime statistics in the city or town where your potential accommodation options are.
It may be difficult to pinpoint exact statistics for a street or area where your halls are located. However, you can check the crime rates in university cities across the UK to better inform your decision if you feel it necessary.
Visit the city beforehand to familiarise yourself
Depending on the decision you have made on which university to go to will obviously inform how familiar you are with the city or town. You may have decided to move to the nearest city to you, therefore you may be more familiar with your surroundings.
If you are moving to pastures new, however, visiting the city as well as the university is advisable. By this, you will gauge a clearer understanding of the city’s offerings and make a better judgement on whether the city meets your requirements.
You can discover how far things are in proximity to where you will potentially live. You may find lovely halls of residence that are miles out of town, which could make accessing local amenities and facilities extremely difficult. Plus, expensive taxi fares home after a student night out are far from practical for your budget!
Download local maps to your smartphone
In today’s digital world, the ability to navigate between places has never been easier, thanks to smartphone technologies and apps like Google Maps. You can also download local maps to your smartphone so that you have a reference point for all the amenities you’d like to access.
You may find that a building on campus for a lecture is really hard to find, or want to try out the latest new restaurant in the city. Using maps as a way of navigating around until you are used to your surroundings is a smart move.
You can also work out what routes are safer using maps. If a designated route is taking you through a destination you don’t feel comfortable in, you can change direction and re-route and still be safely guided to where you want to be.
Or why not expand your horizons a little further and see what the other areas of the city have to offer by looking at local listings on the maps for parks and leisure activities.
Discover safety tips and advice from the local police
Amidst all the excitement, inevitably, the prospect of living in a city can be quite daunting, even for experienced adults! Typically, you may have lived in a quiet suburban area with your family and are now about to reside in a completely different landscape. With new surroundings, a heightened sense of vigilance is required.
Sadly, students are easy targets for crime, but every police force has its own tips and advice for you to ensure you can stay alert and be wary. The best place to look prior to your move is online. Good sources for this information tend to be police and university websites. For example, Leicestershire Police have produced a comprehensive student safety guide on their website.
Student Union websites are also a great source for student safety information. The University of Leicester’s student union page is frequently updated, so always be sure to check website pages.
As is the case in today’s digital world, social media is also a great place to receive news and information, particularly on safety. Police forces and student unions use social media pages regularly to send out tweets and updates, so follow the relevant pages across all socials to keep yourself in the loop.
Make sure you are familiar with local taxi firms
It is highly likely that your university experience will consist of many nights out, particularly at the outset. It is also where you can be most exposed in regards to student safety and the often difficult task of getting transport home.
Unfortunately, there can be people looking to exploit this situation, trying to make a fast buck by offering their taxi services. It is unsafe to get into an unbooked private hire taxi, and it’s illegal for the driver to pick you up if you haven’t booked in advance. Always ensure your taxi is pre-booked, either with a local firm or using an app such as Uber.
Local taxi firms tend to work alongside universities to provide a safe and secure option for students, with designated pick up points located in areas near to popular nightspots. Make a list of all the local taxi companies, with notes of their location and contact details. Again, check your university website for information on taxi firms that are reliable and reputable.
Some universities run schemes in conjunction with local taxi firms, such as the University of Leicester’s safe taxi scheme. Check if your university runs a scheme and find out the criteria as they can often differ.
Always stay with someone on a night out
Although it may seem obvious, becoming detached from your friends on a night out is easily done as clubs and bars tend to be very busy, particularly on student nights. Wandering off solo after lots of alcohol may seem adventurous and exciting, but it can mean you are more vulnerable to danger and lack the awareness you may have when sober.
Being in a new city, your knowledge of the area may still be limited. Therefore it is likely to be easier for you to get lost if alone and under the influence of alcohol. Where possible, try to go out with a big group of people, so that the potential to end up alone is minimised. If you are only out in a small group, always ensure you are with at least one other person. Looking out for your friends and yourself is a huge part of learning about university life!
Moving to St George’s Tower
At St George’s Tower, our student accommodation offers everything you need to maximise your university experience. With local amenities, close transport links and a wide range of leisure facilities on your doorstep, you’ll feel instantly connected to the city of Leicester and all it has to offer.
Check out our range of student accommodation and please feel free to contact us with any queries or questions you may have. Our friendly, welcoming team is waiting to help you. Or, if you have already looked at our accommodation options, you can start to envisage your new uni life by booking a room today.