Following a huge surge in the number of muggings, attacks and sexual assaults students in the Fallowfield, Withington and Rusholme areas have been facing, the University of Manchester’s Students’ Union have set in place a new initiative to try and increase safety in the area.
133 cases were reported in August 2017 alone, including 29 reports of violence and sexual offences, 15 burglaries, three robberies and six personal thefts. Since term time began again in September, these incidents have continued to rise.
Jack Houghton, Community Officer for the Executive Team, said in a statement, “The Student Officer team at Manchester Students’ Union, are aware of these incidents and we are taking the safety of our students very seriously”.
On Tuesday 10th October the Student Safety Group, consisting of representatives from Manchester Students’ Union, Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Manchester City Council, University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester Metropolitan Students’ Union met to discuss the best ways to ensure the safety of Manchester students.
As a result, six main strategies were agreed upon to help put students living in these areas at ease:
- A ‘Night Owl’ scheme whereby groups of student volunteers trained in first aid, safe guarding, well-being training and self-defence will be on-call to safe-guard vulnerable people.
- An increase in the number of street lights in Fallowfield, Withington, Rusholme and other targeted areas. All the new lights be brighter and LED to offer residents greater protection from the perils of dark streets.
- The University of Manchester Students’ Union has established a partnership with Street Cars, allowing students to give a Street Cars driver their student I.D in exchange for a ride home. Students can then collect their ID from the SU reception the next day and pay the bill then.
- GMP have increased patrols for areas where there are high levels of criminal offences to act as a deterrent to criminals.
- Manchester City Council, Manchester Student Homes (MSH), Greater Manchester Police and Manchester Students Union are planning to knock on the doors of hundreds of homes to provide information of safety precautions that can be taken by students. They are also working on handing out personal alarms that can be collected from the University of Manchester’s Students’ Union.
- Manchester Student Homes have also set up a campaign called WOLF (Wary of Light Fingers) to raise awareness of professional thief’s that steal your possessions whilst on a night out or walking down the streets.
Jack Houghton further added, “We cannot stress enough the importance for everybody to consider their own personal safety. Please make sure your door is locked at all times, even if there are occupants inside the property. Never leave the room with your window open, especially on the bottom floor. Never, ever, let your friend go home by themselves. Get a taxi home with them. Be alert at all times whilst walking down streets, especially when you are on the phone or have head phones in. Make sure you ring the police immediately if you see suspicious behaviour or criminal activity and report hate crime to Manchester Students’ Union as we are an official hate crime reporting centre.”
If you would like any more information on these policies or would like to discuss anything further, please contact the Community Officer, Jack Houghton on 0161 275 8268 or send an email to Jack.firstname.lastname@example.org