Column: Stay safe while you have fun

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Now Fresher’s Week is upon us, I want to take this opportunity to welcome all new students and returning student) to our city.

Leaving home for the first time can be daunting yet thrilling and we want to ensure that all of you have an enjoyable but safe introduction to living and studying in Sheffield.

Lots of you will be socialising heavily in the first few weeks of student life and our night-time economy is incredibly diverse, with restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs to suit a wide variety of tastes.

We know there’ll be lots of opportunities to indulge in alcohol and again, we want to ensure your safety. Nights out and clubbing may not be a new experience for you, but it’s always important to remember your limits and look after yourself and your friends when you’re out.

This includes planning how you’re getting home after a night out – have you pre-booked a taxi? The student unions sometimes run night buses during term time from their events, which is worth being aware of and checking out.

You’re probably all familiar already with the safety messages around drink spiking, but remember never to leave your drink unattended and if you have any concerns about any suspicious behaviour around you, report it to someone.

For many students, this will be the first time you have lived independently in student accommodation – this is very exciting but unfortunately, for some, their new adventure has already been affected by crime.

This weekend there was a significant increase in burglaries at student properties, with many burglars viewing your student halls or shared houses as gold mines for mobile phones, laptops, as well as other electronics and valuables.

We know that in your first few weeks of ‘fresher’ life, home security will not be top of your list but there are very simple steps you can take to prevent your accommodation being targeted.

Thieves are always on the lookout for opportunities, so open or unlocked doors and windows are incredibly inviting. We know you might want to prop open your door so you can make friends and say hi, but if you’re leaving your room or house/flat, remember to close and lock your door and windows.

Don’t leave packaging for expensive items outside your property either – that’s an easy way for a thief to see what you might have inside.

In addition, don’t leave your valuables on show and if you’re leaving to go home or go on holiday, take these items with you.

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