When Indian student Anuj Bidve was shot in an unprovoked attack in Salford, Manchester last month, it raised alarms across the international student community in the UK. The unfortunate incident could either have been a racist attack or just a one-off crime which is debatable. But what’s important is how such incidents can be prevented in future. Though the police, and UK universities are gearing up to handle such crime, there are some things even the students can do to prevent such mishaps.
Before you travel to the UK
Even before you leave your country, even before you decide on the university you want to head to, it might be worth finding out which is a safe city to study in the UK. According to a report on the crime levels in university cities published by the Complete University Guide in July 2011, Canterbury ranks first, followed by Bath at rank two, Lancaster at rank three, York at rank four and Swansea at rank five.
After you get there
Though on-campus accommodation is the safest option for international students, it is relatively expensive and many students might not be able to afford it. While choosing off-campus housing, ensure its located in a relatively safe area known for low levels of violence and street crime, and you know who to reach out to in case of emergencies.
While out on the road or travelling, be aware of your surroundings at all times, and avoid flaunting either your religion or your wealth. In the unlikely event that you are assaulted, followed or threatened, you can contact the police. UK police are friendly, helpful and easy to approach. To report a crime, call your local police station or ask someone at your college to do it on your behalf. In an emergency, where there is danger to your life or someone else with you, you can dial 999 to contact the police, fire brigade or ambulance.
Make friends with the locals as moving around within your own community might make you susceptible to racist attacks. The laws in the UK may be different from those in your home country. It is important that you know them and follow them to avoid landing yourself into trouble.
As a spokesperson from Universities UK said, UK is a “safe and tolerant” place to study. By taking all the precautions you can, you can ensure you enjoy a peaceful time while in the UK.