Advice for students and staff

Sheffield is reported to be the safest large city in the UK, but like any big city, it is not crime free. It is sensible to take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.

If you have any questions about personal security in your student residence or on campus, our Security Services team, have a wealth of knowledge and are happy to give you advice and guidance.

Contact Lee Parker (l.parker@sheffield.ac.uk) or Lucy Brooke (l.brooke@sheffield.ac.uk).

Click here for more contact details

This key advice will help to keep you safe:

Personal safety
  • Stay alert - awareness is your best defence.
  • Never leave your drinks unattended, even soft drinks get spiked.
  • Drink water in between alcoholic drinks.
  • You don’t have to be drunk to have a good night, set limits and stick to them. Alcohol can change your behaviour and make you do things that you wouldn’t normally do.
  • At night, avoid taking risky shortcuts through back alleys, parks or waste grounds. Where possible, stick to pavements and well-lit areas.
  • Be confident - even if you don't feel it.
  • Trust your instincts - if you think something is wrong, then act on it.
  • Always pre-book a licensed taxi for your journey home.
  • Stay with your friends and never walk home alone.
  • Walk facing traffic so you can see what's heading towards you and so a car can’t pull up behind you unnoticed.
  • If you regularly walk home or go out jogging, try to vary your routes (without taking risky shortcuts).
  • Wearing earphones is common practice, but please be aware that they may appear attractive to potential attackers and reduce your alertness to your surroundings.
  • If you are carrying a bag make sure the clasp is facing inwards, all zips are closed correctly and all pockets closed. If your bag is snatched let it go, your safety is more important than your property.
  • If you have expensive items such as jewellery, mobile phones or music listening devices, keep them out of sight.
  • If you are threatened by a person, scream, shout and set off a personal attack alarm to startle the attacker giving you time to escape. Try to make a note of details such as registration plates, clothing, and height, then report the incident to the Security Team and Police.
Burglary
  • Always ensure your doors and windows are locked, even if you’re in the property.
  • Consider using a UV or permanent marker to mark your property. Mark valuables with your postcode, house number or name and register them on www.immobilise.com.
  • Keep valuables and car keys out of view and away from doors and windows.
  • Consider using timer or sensor switches on your lights when you are out to make it look like someone's at home. Fitting exterior lighting with sensors is also effective.
  • If you have a burglar alarm, make sure you use it when you go out and consider having effective window locks fitted. Upgrade to Eurolocks - click here to find out more.
  • If you don't have a burglar alarm, consider installing one. Get at least three quotes and seek specialist advice from companies who are registered with either the National Security Inspectorate (01628 637512) or Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (0191 2963242).
  • Consider fitting CCTV systems
  • Consider joining a neighbourhood watch scheme if you have one in your area. If not, think about setting one up with local residents
  • Don't advertise on social media that your property is going to be empty over holiday periods. Thieves look out for this kind of information and could target your property.
  • Dispose of boxes and rubbish discreetly. Leaving product boxes outside will signal to burglars that you have new and valuable items in the house.

South Yorkshire Police advice on securing your home or vehicle

Cycles

Cycling is a great way to keep fit and get around, but you need to make sure you secure your bike to prevent it from being stolen.

  • Always lock your cycle, even if you are just leaving it for a few minutes.
  • Avoid isolated places - leave your cycle where it can be seen.
  • Lock your bike to an immovable object - there are plenty of cycle racks around campus.
  • Invest in a good lock (see further advice below).
  • Secure removable parts.
  • Take out insurance to cover your cycle.
  • Mark your cycle so it can be identified.

Types of locks

Cycle crime is on the up due to the use of poor quality locks. You need to make sure that you have a high quality lock that will keep your bike safe and secure. A general rule is to spend at least 10 per cent of the value of your bike on a lock. If you can, use two different types of lock to deter thieves. The Cycle Hut next to the Arts Tower sells a high quality D lock for £15 (student discount of 50 per cent).

  • D locks: Rigid steel locks in a D or U shape, these are generally heavy and tough looking. The more you pay, the more secure it will be.
  • Cable locks: More flexible than D locks, they can be used where D locks don't fit, but be aware that thinner, cheaper versions can be easily cropped.
  • Chains and padlocks: Although these can be heavy, they are tough and a good quality chain and padlock should be a secure and strong option.

Click here for a video demonstrating how to lock a bike properly

Most locks only allow you to lock the frame and one wheel of your bike, so you may want to invest in two D locks, or buy a cable lock to secure the second wheel. Alternatively, you could combine a D lock with an ‘extension cable’ - a flexible cable with open loop ends which you can loop through the wheel you haven't locked and secure to the D lock before you secure it.

Quick release mechanisms can make it easy for thieves to steal your saddle and wheels, but you can replace the mechanisms with ordinary bolts or nuts. You could even remove the front wheel and secure it to the frame of the bike.

What to do if your bike is stolen

  • Contact the Police and obtain an incident number and then call the University's Security Team on 0114 222 4085 (ext 24085).
  • If you are threatened by anyone or attacked for your bike or other possessions, remember that your safety is more important than your belongings. Call Security Services on 0114 222 4085 immediately and contact the Police to report any such instances.
Hate Crime

A hate crime is any crime that is targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. This can include abuse, name-calling, assault, blackmail, harassment, intimidation, bullying or exploitation. At the University of Sheffield we have a zero tolerance policy towards hate crime and ask that all forms of it are reported. By reporting incidents, you can help us provide support to those who need it and to understand where we need to focus our efforts when it comes to prevention.

How do I report a hate crime on campus?

If you have been a victim of hate crime or have witnessed a hate crime take place it is important to let us know. This information is also applicable to staff and students. In the first instance we recommended reporting it to Security Services. Call us on 0114 222 4085 (ext 24085).

Once a report has been made to Security Services, we can then report it formally to the Police. No action will be taken by the police unless the victim wishes them to do so. The Student Advice Centre is an official hate crime reporting centre. You can report a crime in person by visiting them on Level 3 of the Students’ Union, or calling them on 0114 222 8660. You can also email: advice@sheffield.ac.uk.

If you prefer, you can report a hate crime directly to South Yorkshire Police, either online or by visiting your local police station.

Drink and Drugs

Many people like to go out with friends to have a good time. This could mean going to a friend’s house, a pub, club, a music festival or event but this does not necessarily mean that alcohol or drugs would be involved.

However, given that some people do take drugs when they go out and that you can never tell exactly what an illegal drug contains or what effect it will have, they put themselves at serious risk of harm. There is no safe level of illicit drug use. If you suspect negative effects from drugs taken by you or someone else, remember that every second counts, so react fast and call an ambulance.

Please note that Police will not normally attend unless ambulance officers are threatened or there is a death.

Planning ahead, including thinking about how you will respond if you or someone else runs into trouble will help you to reduce the risk of anyone coming to harm if things do not go as planned. This section gives you some tips on how to make sure your social event is a memorable one and not for the wrong reasons.

When you are out make smart decisions. Some things to consider:

  • You do not need to drink or use drugs to have a good time.
  • Remember – the safest choice is not to take drugs at all.
  • Keep your wits about you and trust your own judgement or gut instinct. If a situation doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
  • Stay close to friends you trust, and look after each other.
  • If you are faced with a situation that could turn violent, walk away.
  • When entering and exiting a venue or event, take note of conditions of entry such as lock out times, pass outs and excessive queues, as you may not be able to get back in.
  • To avoid drink spiking, watch your drinks being poured if possible, don’t leave your drink unattended and don’t accept drinks from a stranger. Alcohol is the most common drug used to spike drinks.
  • If a friend appears to have been drink-spiked, don’t leave them alone. Assist them to get medical attention.
  • Remain hydrated at all times. If the venue or event is licensed, they are required by law to provide you with free drinking water.
  • Be aware that mixing alcohol and drugs can put you at greater risk of overdosing. The depressant effects of alcohol can mask the effects of stimulant drugs like amphetamines.
  • When you mix alcohol with energy drinks it can also have a masking effect and you may not feel as drunk as you are, and may take more risks.
  • Take regular breaks from dancing to prevent overheating.
  • Seek help immediately if you are worried about yourself or someone else.

Watch the videos

Sexual violence

The University takes incidents of sexual violence very seriously and wants to ensure that any students affected are able to access appropriate information and support.

Sexual violence can take many forms but in general refers to unwanted sexual acts or activity, including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. These can be committed by strangers, by someone you know, or by someone of the same sex. They can also take place within a relationship or a marriage.

Click here for support and how to report

Violent crime

What to do if you’ve been assaulted

No matter how you’re feeling it is important to remember that no-one has the right to hurt or threaten you. Even if the incident does not result in any physical injuries, it can still be regarded as an assault. Regardless of physical injury, assault can have an emotional effect.

Often victims know the perpetrators of the assault, and incidents can happen anywhere.

Report all assaults to Security Control on our 24-hour line 0114 222 4085 (ext 24085) or in an emergency only 0114 222 4444 (ext. 4444). If you don’t feel safe in your accommodation or on academic campus please let us know.

It can be extremely frightening to be the victim of an assault. As well as being hurt or physically injured you may also feel emotional trauma. Support is available:

The Student Services Information Desk (SSiD) on Level 3 of the Students’ Union can offer you advice, and point you in the direction of further support within Student Services if you feel that you may need it.

You can also speak to staff in the Student Advice Centre.

You can also approach a Students’ Union Officer, or someone in the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy.

Squaring

University students have been increasingly targeted by criminals to facilitate their illegal money laundering operations.

Those struggling with financial pressures could be vulnerable to money laundering frauds and targeted as ‘money mules’. A money mule is someone who allows criminals or fraudsters to ‘launder’ (or transfer) money through their bank account in return for cash.

If you become a money mule your bank account may be closed or frozen and you may be drawn into criminal activity without realising it. You could even be charged with a criminal offence and face a
prison sentence of up to 14 years.

How you can stay protected:

  • Be careful of emails or messages from anyone offering you cash or payments in return for
  • accepting payments into your bank account
  • Do not share your bank details with anyone that you don’t know and trust – particularly if it’s a
  • stranger who has contacted you by email or social media
  • Be vigilant - look out for any unusual activity in your bank account (for example, if you see that
  • money has been deposited into your account and then removed)
  • Be aware that the consequences of becoming a ‘money mule’ can be serious

If you think that your bank account may have been misused, or that you have become involved in a
fraud or money laundering activity, talk directly with your bank about this. Alternatively you could
report the issue to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting the Action Fraud website.

Visit UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCIA) for guidance about frauds and scams.

Stay safe principles

Click here to see the video

The personal safety of staff and students at the University of Sheffield is paramount, and with this in mind we wanted to share with you the Government's advice on what to do in the unlikely event of a safety threat such as firearms or terrorist activity on campus.

Whilst there are no specific threats to the University of Sheffield, the UK’s national threat level remains at severe and we want to ensure that everyone is informed about how to stay safe and secure on campus and in your student residence.

The Government's advice in such incidents is to ensure you follow the Stay Safe principles: Run, Hide, Tell.

Click here to watch the Stay Safe video

Click here to read our Stay Safe policy