Keeping you and your stuff safe
Personal safety comes down to you being onto it!
Stepping out from school into work or study can be exciting and a whole lot of fun. It also brings along with it new challenges and even dangers. You can get on top of many of these by taking some simple precautions that are cheap and quick but can be very effective. And here’s an important takeaway: most of these also apply while you are still at school too!
Don’t let an idiot, thief or predator derail your steps into what should be the best time of your life. Here’s some advice on easy ways you can start taking care of yourself. Don’t wait till something has happened to you or your friends – preventing trouble is way easier than fixing it.
Personal safety first:
Once you have left school, you will have more chances or reasons to go out with friends, and once you are over 18, the world of alcohol is open to you. Taking a little care before you go out and while you are there will help ensure you stay safe and remember the night out for good reasons, not bad.
- Take responsibility for yourself on a night out. It really isn’t anyone else’s job.
- Have an idea how you will get home, and keep the uber or bus fare safe and don’t spend it.
- Eat something before you go out and drink plenty of water. Helps you not to get drunk and then lose your phone, keys, wallet…..
- Let someone (hostel mate, flatmate, family member) know where you’re going and with who.
- Ensure your mobile phone is charged and you have some credit. Also avoid using your phone in isolated places. Texting can distract you from what is happening around you.
- Keep an eye on what you’re drinking, as well as how much, and don’t leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from a stranger.
- Leave a party, club or pub with a friend or a group of friends if you can.
- If you are using public transport late at night, sit near the driver on the bus and in an occupied carriage on the train.
- If you have to walk home, don’t do it alone. Keep to well-lit, busy streets, main roads and footpaths, and stay away from dark areas, underpasses and parks.
Keeping your stuff yours
Thieves do one thing really well – they take advantage of the opportunities you give them. They are everywhere and there would not be a high school or tertiary institution in the country without some people being willing to steal your gear. Your stuff is your stuff, so don’t make it easy for these lowlifes to help themselves to your possessions.
- Students in flats are much more likely to be burgled than those in halls of residence, generally because their accommodation is often unoccupied for long periods of the day and night.
- Make sure you are able to lock your room or flat properly, and include your windows, garage etc. Make sure the place is tight before leaving for holidays or the like.
- Do not leave cash, electronics or jewellery lying around anywhere and keep valuables out of sight or in a secure place.
- Get some personal belongings insurance – over half the students who fall prey to theft and burglary are not insured.
- Mobiles are by far and away the items most stolen from young people. If you get your mobile nicked, always contact your network provider to block the phone's use or you may be liable for the cost of any calls, and if you know the phone has been stolen you should inform the police.
- Make a record of your plastic card, driving licence and passport details if you have one. Keep this somewhere safe. If you lose your card or think it has been stolen, get in touch with your bank or credit card company straight away.
- If using a cash machine, check for signs of interference or damage before you use it. Try to use these during the day rather than late at night, and always be aware of people crowding around you when using a cash machine. Never accept a stranger's offer of help.
- If you have a bike, get yourself a good quality bicycle lock and use it. Try to leave your bike in a designated bike park, or a well-lit public place and lock it to something immoveable. Remember to lock your bike at home too, whether it’s kept in a garage or your halls of residence. Grab a photograph of your bike and the frame number.
- If you have a car, get an alarm and immobiliser fitted if you can. Think about where you park. Stealing from vehicles is a major New Zealand problem and you should never leave stuff in a car that you don’t want to lose.