Selly Oak police reveal their top tips for staying safe
Don’t be a victim
Selly Oak isn’t the most pleasant place, and a recent crime wave has left a lot of us asking whether it is even safe to live here any more.
The Tab spoke to PC Carl Barrington and PC Dave Dougie at the University’s police drop-in centre about why they think students in Selly Oak are easy targets and what we can do to protect ourselves.
Keep your doors and windows locked
Around 95 per cent of burglaries in Selly Oak are due to burglars simply entering through unlocked doors or windows and PC Carl points out “only a small amount of burglars smash windows or doors to access properties”.
While it may seem like common sense, make sure to keep your front and back door locked, even when you’re in the house too. West Midlands Police – along with community wardens – do weekly rounds trying door handles and windows in Selly Oak to see who is leaving themselves vulnerable.
Don’t get into unregistered taxis
After Christmas, West Midlands Police will be running a campaign in order to prevent drunk students getting into unregistered taxis on Broad Street. There have recently been reports of men driving into town, picking up drunk people and sexually assaulting them. PC Dave advises us to check the side of the car, if it doesn’t have a sticker on then it isn’t a taxi.
Don’t walk home alone in the dark
PC Carl said the “bad spell” of muggings last year were mainly due to attackers targeting lone students. PC Dave suggests staying in groups, avoiding unlit areas and going to the nearest shop or pub if you feel concerned about someone following you.
If you can, try and avoid walking home with your headphones on. This is an easy way for attackers to distinguish whether you have a phone or iPod on you, as well as making you a lot less aware of your surroundings.
Be careful with your laptop
The most commonly stolen item from students in Selly Oak is their laptops. PC Carl added: “Burglars find it easy to walk down the street with one and not get noticed, as well as being incredibly easy to sell on.”
West Midlands Police advises students to mark their laptops with a UV pen. Write down your name and home address, or even just “University of Birmingham” and your ID number.
PC Carl reassures The Tab Selly Oak has actually seen crime rates fall this year, with hardly any muggings and lot less burglaries. Although we need to remain aware of crime, he advises us to “enjoy Selly Oak”.
If you want to talk, head to the drop-in centre which can be found in University Centre, next to Spar. They are open from Monday to Friday and you can also keep up with UoB police on twitter at @brumunicop. PC Carl and Dave also recommend having a look at www.saferstudents.co.uk .