OPINION: 'Sheffield feels safe but there is more reason than ever for women to feel afraid on a night out'

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Although safety has always been a concern as a young student, issues regarding safety and security, especially for women, have been widely spoken about in the media in recent weeks.

Following the sentencing of Sarah Everard’s murderer, the death of schoolteacher Sabina Nessa, issues about catcalling coming to light and the investigation into drink spiking, there is more reason than ever for women to feel afraid whilst they are on a night out.

As a student in Sheffield, safety is higher up than ever on the priority list but sometimes it’s difficult to look out for your safety and it’s easy to become complacent.

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In Sheffield, I would argue I feel safer than I do in my hometown and safer than I did during my undergraduate degree in Huddersfield.

West Street, Sheffield is often used as a thoroughfare on a night outWest Street, Sheffield is often used as a thoroughfare on a night out
West Street, Sheffield is often used as a thoroughfare on a night out

This could be due to Sheffield being a lot more student orientated, and a lot more built-up, with the city centre being busy seven days a week.

Even when I walk home from work it feels a lot safer than surrounding cities I’ve previously lived in, but that’s not to say nothing alarming happens in Sheffield.

A general night out in Sheffield usually goes something like this:

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After getting ready and heading into town, usually drinks in a pub such as Spoons is on the cards. However, it’s largely intimidating as a young student in a pub filled with older men as things get shouted at you that were completely uncalled for.

A walk along West Street to the clubs and central nightlife hub can be scary when walking alone with a large homeless community out and about on the streets.

Although the clubs are safe and secure it’s always a thought at the back of your mind to watch your drinks and to always be aware of your surroundings.

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The number of friends and people I know who have been victims of drink spiking is scary and enough to put anyone off a night out.

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I think the scariest thing as a student is the literal price it costs for safety.

Bottled drinks are always more expensive than drinks that are more open such as spirits and mixers, the cost of the cloakroom is expensive meaning most of the time you’re walking home with fewer clothes on, making you more of a target.

The price of taxis is my biggest concern in Sheffield, that and the impossibility to get an Uber. This means most of the time it leaves me walking home alone at night because I either can’t afford the price of the taxi or an Uber driver just won’t accept.

Surely there must be a way for the Government or local councils to arrange a cheaper, more efficient way of getting home.

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I finished work at 12.30am once from down by The Moor and an Uber was trying to charge me £11 to get only one mile away.

I think this is why students worry about their safety so much. On a student budget we don’t have massive amounts to work with and the price of safety often isn’t the top of most people’s priority list.