Spotlight on student safety
Release Date 20 September 2007
Students arriving in Reading are to be given advice on how to keep safe and out of trouble.
Thames Valley Police and NHS South Central will talk to students to combat the dangers posed by binge drinking, poor home security and living in an unfamiliar town.
At freshers' fairs throughout the region, police officers and national health staff have been dishing out free, practical help and advice to students.
According to Home Office statistics, one in three students became victims of crime last year. (2006-07)
Most crimes committed against students are muggings, car crime and burglary, although incidents of assault, internet and credit card fraud are also on the rise.
Reading crime reduction officer John McNicholas will speak to University of Reading at its Freshers' Fairs.
He said: "Students are vital to the health of the town centre, both during the day and at night.
"Many are experiencing a new life in a new part of the country and I want to see them enjoy themselves.
"But it is an unfortunate fact that many become victims of crime during their time at university.
"Some are victims of bad luck, others are naïve and some are targeted by criminals after drinking too much.
"I don't want to stop anyone drinking during an evening out, I want to minimise the risks students take by making them aware of what they can do to keep themselves and their property as safe as possible."
Alongside the student safety work, Thames Valley Police are co-ordinating an alcohol awareness campaign with NHS South Central.
Dr James Mapstone, Acting Director of Public Health for the South Central region added: "It is a common misconception that the only side effect of too much alcohol is a bad hangover, when actually the consequences can be much worse.
"We are seeing an increase in the number of people suffering from the long term health effects of alcohol such as cancer, coronary heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver.
"Alcohol can make you lose your inhibitions, meaning you are more likely to have unprotected sex resulting in pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection.
"Too much alcohol will also put the brakes on fat loss and is one of the most effective ways to slash your testosterone levels."
Thames Valley Police five point student safety plan:
• Avoid travelling alone at night. Never abandon anyone when travelling home after an evening out.
• Use student bus services (when available) or taxis to get home at night.
• Never leave valuable items such as computers, mobile phones or i-pods on show in your room or in public.
• Make sure all external windows and doors have locks, and use them properly.
• If you know you are going to be out drinking for a number of hours, try alternating alcoholic and soft drinks, or set yourself a limit on the number of drinks you have and stick to it.
For more information contact Thames Valley Police press officer Andrew Heath on 01865 846418.
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