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Speaking to SCAN, Lancaster University’s Community Beat Manager PC Gary Wynne was unsurprised that survey figures showed such a high confidence in the safety of Lancaster and the University.
“The Lancaster area and especially campus itself are low crime areas so it is no surprising that many people feel town and campus are safe. I believe that the students at Lancaster are particularly lucky as the combination of having on-site security and a dedicated policing team works well to keep crime low,” he said.
This was corroborated by a statement from the University Press Office, which said “we would like to flag up the awards for safety [awarded to the University] and that we have a police station on campus in CETAD with an enabled police team.”
Recent building developments which have been given awards for safety included the 2008 constructions in County and Grizedale colleges, as well as the new Sports Centre.
Wynne went on to stress the importance of remaining vigilant, and particularly looking after personal belongings. “The vast majority of [thefts] are opportunistic thefts that are preventable. A consequence of everybody feeling safe on campus is that they become very trusting of the campus communicty.
“As a result both staff and students leave their property unattended and a few people are unfortunate enough to return to find their property missing,” said Wynne.
Posters in academic areas such as the Library warn students that thefts have been reported from such places and that valuables should not be left unattended.
PC Wynne’s message to students included the advice that doors and windows should not be left unlocked for any period of time, washing should not be left unattended in laundrettes and students should look out for each other’s property in public spaces.
Aiming to further increase awareness, a personal safety campaign is being run by County College JCR Executive. Equality and Diversity Officer Liz Ashworth told SCAN that “we’re going to be handing out maps of County and asking people to fill in where they think the poorly lighted areas are, so that we can put the evidence forward to ‘those it will concern’ and request better lighting around the campus.”
“This will obviously make things easier and safer,” said Ashworth.
County’s campaign will also make rape alarms available to students, “all to promote people looking after themselves in the darker winter months.”
Another future campaign will see LUSU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Association ask local venues to sign a “no tolerace” pledge against hate crime.
LUSU Vice President (Equality, Welfare and Diversity) Matt Saint elaborated that “the [City] council want to train the majority of the door staff working at venues in Lancaster in how to recognise and deal with hate crime appropriately.
“FGH, the door staff company who provide staff for the Sugarhouse, already have extensive training in this so the council are hoping to look at them for how they apply this training.”
Saint added that “This is incredibly important to make Lancaster an even safer and more friendly place that it already is so that everyone can feel safe and accepted here.”