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Exeposé

| Week six

NEWS

www.exepose.ex.ac.uk

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Are students safe? Spate of attacks intensifies concerns over safety After a rise in the number of attacks on students, Exeposé investigates concerns over student safety in Exeter and launches a campaign to prevent County Council plans to switch-off street lights Tom Payne Editor CONCERNS for student safety have been raised after a series of muggings and assaults on students in Exeter. Between 10 October and 20 October, a total of six students were mugged and physically assaulted in residential areas close to the city centre. One robber was wielding a knife, although it was not used to attack the student, while one lone male was attacked by a gang of robbers on busy Queen Street. Three incidents were reported on York Road, an area close to the City Centre and a major thoroughfare for students. Another attack was recorded nearby in the Well Street area on St James Road, while a fifth attack occurred metres from the Co-Operative shop on Pennsylvania Road in the early hours of the morning – a well-lit area usually known for its heavy foot-traffic during both day and night. Another incident occurred on the 10 October on Queen Street at 12:45, where a gang of males robbed a lone male who was waiting for a lift. All of the attacks happened between the times of 22:30 – 05:30. In all cases, thieves barged into their victims from behind, stealing handbags, mobiles, purses and other valuables, leaving some with physical injuries. All incidents involved lone males and females walking through residential

areas in the early hours of the morning. The news follows just one month after a female was sexually assaulted on King William Street in the early hours of the morning, metres from the busy High Street. The spate of attacks has prompted concerns from the Students’ Guild and the local police force. Grace Hopper, VP Welfare and Community, said: “It is horrible that students have been victims of such crimes. My advice would be to never walk home alone at night, stick to

EXEPOSÉ

CAMPAIGN

Save our street lights main roads and always make sure your valuables are never on show to opportunists.” Sarah Bloor, the University PCSO, told Exeposé: “Robbery is more likely to take place in quiet or dark areas, and I would like to advise against anyone walking home alone in the hours of darkness. Whenever possible, stick to well-lit, busy areas where you can be clearly seen and where you can clearly see other people. Think about carrying a personal alarm with you, which can be used to disorientate and shock an attacker. Carrying a mobile phone is a

“Student safety is not an issue that is up for debate” anything to do with welfare issues. Also, Estate Patrol will temporarily pay taxi fares if you don’t have enough money to pay for a taxi home. Just call a taxi and ask them to take you to the Estate Patrol office at Northcote House. Exeposé talks to Grace Hopper, VP Welfare and Community, on how to stay safe in Exeter What resources are there in place to help students who have suffered an attack or burglary? We launched SenseExeter.com this year which provides a lot of key safety information for students . The one thing I’d say is that a lot of people are worried about contacting 999, when they really shouldn’t be. You must always call 999 if you have been mugged, or even if you feel you are being followed or intimidated in any way - you must always call police in the first instance. There’s also lots of great services like Voice (01392 724700), who you can call for

Why do you think students become targets for attacks and burglaries? Mostly because there can be a perception of students as easy targets. One of the main problems is opportunists who steal valuables on display in houses. What do you think is the best way to prevent these kinds of attacks? I always say to students: plan your journey ahead, book a registered taxi, and always go out with a charged phone. Tell a friend about your planned journey, and if that changes, always inform them. For more information on student safety, visit Sense Exeter: www.senseexeter.com or contact Grace: guildwelfare@ex.ac.uk

Photo: Joshua Irwandi

good idea in case of emergencies, but keep it concealed, and only use it when you have to. If you have a shoulder bag, wear it across your shoulders to lower the risk of it being snatched.” A University spokesperson also told Exeposé: “Traditionally Exeter has had an extremely low crime rate. The Estate Patrol provide support and assistance 24 hours a day and would encourage students to contact them if they feel intimidated. If anyone feels they are in immediate danger please call the police in the first instance. We would always advise students to use well-lit areas when walking at night and try to avoid walking alone. “ But students have expressed concern at the increase of attacks in areas normally considered ‘safe’, busy and well lit. A third year female student has spoken of her shock when she was mugged near her house on Mount Pleasant in October last year: “I never thought many incidents would take place in a city like Exeter, but I’ve become much more aware. I now make sure I never walk alone late at night, and make sure my friends don’t either.” The attacks have also prompted increased opposition to Devon County Council’s cost-cutting plans to switchoff many of Exeter’s street lights at night. The Students’ Guild has called the plans “reckless”, and has suggested that such measures will seriously affect perceptions of student safety in Exeter.

Exeposé launches a campaign against Devon County Council’s plan to pull the plug on street lights in Exeter THIS issue, Exeposé launches its campaign to ‘Save Our Streetlights’ (SOS) in response to a spate of attacks on students since the start of term. Exeposé will be working with the Students’ Guild to monitor Devon County Council’s plans to switch off or dim Exeter’s streetlights at night, and will take action to prevent any measures that are likely to seriously infringe on student safety. The scheme is intended to save the authority around £280,000 and 1,600 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Although no plans have been officially announced, it is expected that most of the streetlights set to be turned off will be in residential areas, while main routes and the city centre will remain lit. Exeposé’s main concern is that residential areas set to be affected by the switch-off are becoming hot-spots for muggings and physical abuse on

students. In the past nineteen days alone, an alarming number of lone individuals have been targeted in residential student areas – on one occasion by a gang of attackers at 12:45am on busy Queen Street, and once by a knife-wielding male. Although, luckily, the students involved suffered no major physical

“Exeposé’s main concern is that residential areas set to be affected by the switch-off are becoming hot-spots for muggings and physical abuse of students” injuries, these are serious incidents on roads which normally have a high amount of night-time activity, and the City Council must not take them lightly. The Council, in response to

complaints over the planned switch-off from the Students’ Guild, is proposing a network of walking-home routes to accommodate students’ needs. But it is Exeposé’s opinion that the Council is failing to recognize that students are placed spatially across a vast area of the city – while one area may become ‘safer’ as streetlights remain switched on, criminals will inevitably target students elsewhere. Perhaps more of the Council’s resources should be invested in improving policing and monitoring of key student areas, as even with adequate street-lighting, students are still being targeted by criminals in major student roads. Student safety is not an issue that is up for debate. Fill out the coupon at the top of the front page and leave them in our black SOS boxes around campus.

Profile for Exeposé

2012/13 Week 6 Issue 599  

Students are struck by a spate of attacks in Exeter, and we launch our Save Our Sreetlights campaign. Screen review the new Bond film, while...

2012/13 Week 6 Issue 599  

Students are struck by a spate of attacks in Exeter, and we launch our Save Our Sreetlights campaign. Screen review the new Bond film, while...

Profile for exepose
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