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Staying safe on a night out

By bzellie 24 Aug 2020

Nights out in the Students’ Union or town are meant to be fun-filled and enjoyable times spent with your friends and close ones. To ensure that you are as happy when you leave for a night out as when you come back from one, you need to make sure to take care of yourself and those with you. While Cardiff is a relatively safe city, one can never be too careful when going on a night out, and more so when coming home from a night out. Here are a few tips and recommendations to make a mental (or physical) note of before going on a night out, so that you and your friends keep safe! 

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Use the ‘Safe Taxi Scheme’ if you want to take a taxi but have no money. 

If you ever find yourself in a situation when you want to leave a night out and go home, but there is no one to return with, or you have run out of money, then do not risk walking back, and instead use this scheme. The ‘Safe Taxi Scheme’ is a collaboration between Cardiff University Student’s Union and Dragon Taxis to help students on nights out who want to return home but do not have the means to pay for a taxi ride at that moment. It is available 24 hours per day.

To access this scheme:

  1. Call Dragon Taxis on 029 2033 3333 (save the phone number on your mobile under Safe Taxi Scheme!) and simply quote “Cardiff University Safe Taxi Scheme”, then provide your name and student number (which you should also save somewhere on your mobile if you do not have it memorised!). 
  2. When the taxi arrives, show your student card to the driver who will check the booking details (which is why you should always carry your student ID with you!). You will then be driven home and will not be required to pay for the ride then but will be given a receipt detailing the ride fare. 
  3. To pay the price of your taxi fare, you need to go to the Finance Office on the 3rd floor of the Students’ Union (open 10 AM - 4 PM) sometime in the following few days. 

Terms and Conditions: 

  • There is a maximum allowance of £20 on the account and max 4 students are to travel at any given time.
  • The drop off point must be a student residential address, halls of residence, police station or hospital.

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Download the SafeZone App on iOS and Android

SafeZone is a FREE mobile application that connects Cardiff University students and staff with the university’s response team. As long as the user is within the SafeZone designated area (i.e. on Cardiff University premises), they will be able to contact the response team (security) for help. Upon contacting the response team, they will be able to locate your exact position as the application uses location services. 

The app offers three methods of contact, which are quite self-explanatory: First Aid, Security and Emergency. First Aid is for if you or someone with you is in need of First Aid or is badly hurt. Security is for if you want to call the university’s security team (if you are locked out, to report an out-of-hours maintenance issue in your room/flat etc.). As for Emergency, it is for if you are ever in an emergency situation. Once you press on one of the options to contact the response team, it will take a few seconds before your call goes through. 

The application is only viable so long as you are on campus or on university premises, which includes all the academic and teaching buildings, libraries and university halls of residence. This means that you cannot use the application when you are in town, for example.

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Pick up a personal safety alarm for FREE from the Security Office on the university’s main campus opposite to the Students’ Union’s front entrance. These are available to both male and female students at Cardiff University. When triggered, they sound a high-pitch alarm that is useful as it can scare the attacker away and also can alert any person nearby that there is someone who needs help or is in a potentially dangerous situation. 

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The security office is on 70 Park Place (it is part of the Sir Martin Evans building that overlooks Park Place – the stairs that lead up to it are right next to the Nextbike station there).  

Do not walk alone, and make sure those with you are not walking alone either. 

This might seem like an obvious one, but you would be surprised by the number of people who end up walking alone on a night out. Walking alone puts you at a higher risk of someone coming up to you. If you are walking alone that also means that there might be no one around to help you if you feel sick, lost or if something happens to you (say after a night of heavy drinking and you blackout). The more people there are walking together in a group, the safer you are. If you have managed to secure company to walk with on the way back, ask around the people with you to make sure that they each also have someone to walk home with. 

Take a taxi instead of walking, even if it is more expensive. 

Even if you are in a group, it is preferable that you take a taxi, at least on the way back from a night out. You might think it is expensive, but this is an investment that is worthy to make. The more people you are in a group with, the cheaper the taxi ride will be per person. If you do not have company for a taxi, use the Safe Taxi Scheme. 

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Stay in well-lit and crowded places, and avoid shortcuts, parks, open fields, dim lanes, alleyways etc. 

Walking during the day is different from walking at night. During the day, there is more visible light for you to know where you are, appreciate your surroundings, you can clearly see people nearby, and there are more people about. Also, walking sober is different from walking drunk or tipsy. You are more likely to fall and get lost when not completely sober. Which is why it is highly advised that you try and keep to well-lit places and crowded places, where you can see better and someone is less likely to come up to you. Importantly, do not sacrifice time for safety. Do not take any shortcuts on the way back home if you are walking. Do not walk through parks, open fields, dim lanes, alleyways etc. If you find that you have to walk on a road, do so while facing the vehicles that are coming towards you – this way both you and the drivers are in each other’s line of vision at night. 

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Plan how and with who you are going to get home with BEFORE you leave. 

If you are planning to take a taxi back home, ensure you have enough cash/money in your bank account. If you are paying by cash, keep that cash stored somewhere different than the rest of your money so that you remember it is for your taxi and do not spend it on something else. If you are paying by card, make sure you have enough money left in your account for a taxi ride after you spend however much you spend on the night out. 

If you are planning to walk home, make sure you are going to do so with a group of people. Make those you are planning to walk home with aware of your plans. If you have agreed with someone to walk with them, make sure you actually do so as you might be their only company. 

Report to the ‘Drinkaware Crew’ if you are worried or facing any problems when on a night out at the Students’ Union.  

The ‘Drinkaware Crew’ is an initiative comprising of several specially trained student-staff who are present at the Students’ Union during club nights to monitor things, help anyone who needs it and make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. If someone is bothering you, if you are worried about something or someone or if you feel very sick, then the Drinkaware Crew can assist you. They should be easily recognisable as they wear Drinkaware Crew t-shirts. 

Wear or carry appropriate, comfortable shoes. 

Of course, you want to look stylish and be the best-dressed person on the dancefloor. However, if you are planning on walking to and from your night out, then you might want to consider something more comfortable and less chic. If you really still want to wear those nice shoes or heels, then at least pack a pair of comfy shoes for when you are going to walk. Think of it this way: you want to have a pair of shoes on hand that you are able to run in, if need be.

Do not wear headphones if you are walking alone. 

You may say that listening to music while walking alone at night makes you feel less worried, and while that might be true, you are still putting yourself at risk if you are wearing headphones. When it is dark at night and your eyes are not as effective, you want to make sure that your sense of hearing is fully activated and focused to your surroundings. 

Don’t carry valuables, and if you do, hide them. 

You are going for a night out with your friends, so you should not have any valuables on you for starters. If you do, for any reason, make sure to hide them in a bag or pocket. Valuables might attract unwanted attention and put you, and those with you, at risk.

Be careful of and keep track of what you post and who follows you on social media. Double check your location services. 

This is something that people tend to neglect. You need to be aware and preferably track what it is you are posting online and on social media. This is serious, especially if you think you might have added a few people you do not properly know on previous nights out when you were not completely in your senses. Check your Snapchat, do you share your location on Snap Map? Do you keep posting pictures and videos of the places you go out to? Are these places easily identifiable from the pictures/videos you post? Which apps have you allowed access to your location? It might be a long shot, but you never know who might be watching with some not-very-good intentions. Check this video by Cardiff University that shows how you might be putting yourself at risk by a careless presence on social media. 

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