Are students unfairly targeted or are we just a bit too naïve?
Nottingham is a great student city, but there’s no doubt it can sometimes exploit its students, says Victoria Ibitoye
I recently spoke to some friends about the perks of living in Nottingham and how it differed from life in London. Maybe it was the nostalgia of being at the half-way point of our uni lives or maybe we just had too much free time on our hands, but there we were discussing our experiences and debating whether we’d ever forsake almighty London in favour of a city that feels more like a large town.
We all agreed that Nottingham is a great student city that does a lot for the students that live there but in the same breath no-one could deny the fact that it is also a city which exploits its students in more ways than one.
In 2013 Nottingham was named one of the least safe cities to live in, second only to Manchester, with burglary and violence rates well above the national average. Many of us were well aware of Nottingham’s “Shottingham” reputation before we started university, but how many of us can really say we’ve seen any evidence of this?
Is Nottingham really as bad as people say it is or are we, as students, just a little bit too naïve? It got me thinking…
Last week I was approached by a seemingly innocent lady in distress. She was middle aged, friendly, and asked me if I could lend her a pound because she’s lost her bus fare. I, perhaps all too naively , gave her the pound because (1) it was just a pound and (2) she was clearly desperate and I didn’t want to leave her stranded.
You can imagine my surprise to see the same woman, later that week, making her way towards me. I thought she’d come to thank me, after all I was the girl who had saved her from having to walk home. Erm…no.
Instead she said “Excuse me don’t mean to be cheeky but I’ve lost my bus fare and have no way of getting home could please lend me a pound?”
I was stunned, not only did she feed me the exact same line as before but she didn’t even recognise me. To add insult to injury I later I saw her hand over a bag full of coins to a questionable looking man in a hoody. Hmm…
In uni we live in a bubble and often forget that not everyone has the most honest of intentions. But are we targeted simply because we’re students or are we just a little bit too naïve?
Pharmacy student Elizabeth said: “Once when I went to town a man asked to borrow some money for the bus, when I said I only had 20p he got quite aggressive…it was a bit scary”
Sociology student Pipa said: “I was feeling lazy one day and got the taxi back from Hallward, I live a really short distance from the library and I usually only pay £5 max. The taxi driver tried to charge me £15 but when I complained was all too ready to reduce it to £5. It seemed a little like he was pushing his luck and if I didn’t say anything he would have got away with it.”
Engineering student Lina said: “It’s generally just landlords, they take advantage of the fact that you’re students and think they can get away with doing so little, it’s so frustrating.”
Perhaps it’s a little bit of both, who knows? Crime in Nottingham had reduced over the years and Nottinghamshire police have pledged to ensure students feel safer in student-heavy areas like Lenton. Maybe it’s the less obvious crimes we need to watch out for. I for one am going to be a lot more mindful from now on.