Recent weeks have seen reports of anti-social, suspicious and threatening behavior spike. Reminding us all too harshly of the dangers associated with living in the city and obliterating our sense of invincibility. Despite the temptation to lock yourself in your bedroom and never leave the house, this is not a sustainable solution and we should not let these people ruin our university experience.
Stay in Groups
This one may seem the most obvious but is often the one neglected the most. Especially if we are a bit drunk and a bit more reckless than we would be otherwise. The truth of it is, if you are on your own, it doesn’t matter how many other tactics you have in place, you are vulnerable. The ideal number is anything above three. If you or one of your friends wants to leave a night out early then all go together. Continuing the rest of your night is not worth putting your friend in danger. Do not leave on your own. Ask someone to come with and ideally, get an uber if the walk is too long. This applies to both boys and girls. Threatening behavior and its consequences are not limited to girls, anyone can be a target.
Call the Police
If you are afraid of somebody. If they are acting stranger or if they have said something or you even half suspect you are being followed. Call the police. There is no harm in this and you should not be out off just because you do not think it is justified. They will appreciate any information about suspicious behavior and if you are afraid then that in itself is cause to call them. Dialing 999 is not always possible if you are trying to be discrete, however, smartphones do have emergency SOS features which will help you to get help without speaking on the phone. This may take a bit of setting up but it is a good idea to do so.
Have a Code
When in threatening situations it is always a good idea to contact somebody. Gut feelings about somebody and their behavior are usually correct. Establishing a code word with your friends to get them to come to help you is a very sensible idea. Phoning them and saying “have you got that parcel yet?” or something along those lines, means you can get help without angering or exasperating the situation you could be in.
Do not be afraid to make a noise!
Although it is very useful to be able to use discrete features on your phone to call for help. Often times people rely on you being alone and vulnerable and don’t want to face being confronted or drawn attention to. If they overhear you calling the police or a friend then it could spook them and discourage them from approaching you. In line with this, if somebody does. Scream. Make all the noise you possibly can, however threatening they seem. Recent reports have credited this behavior to the fleeing of their attacker. Draw as much attention to yourself as you possibly can, it will attract help and therefore scare your attacker.
Stay off your phone
Do not walk along with texting or not focusing on what is going on around you. Keep your phone in your hand but your full focus should be on the surroundings. If you are perceived to be distracted you could be targetted but it will also make you less alert to anything happening. The same concept applies to the wearing of headphones or listening to music. Refraining from such will also lend itself to your safety.
Hide your valuables
A lot of crime can be motivated by money. Tuck away any money, wallets or nice jewelry into pockets so that it can’t be a temptation. If you can, leave anything of huge value at home – it will mean you cannot lose it in the SU as well!!
Hearing reports of incidents in and around Cathays is never pleasant. We live in a community of mostly students who we want to trust and believe in. There is a fine line between being complacent with your safety and letting your fear get the better of you. The threat of being approached is not something that comes and goes. It is always very real if you are seeing it in the news or not. Vigilance and preparation will help you both to prevent and interfere with an incident taking place. Having said this, the only person to blame it does is the attacker. Therefore you must not hesitate to report the incident to the police and seek the help you need.