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22/10/2021

Now hear this! Gardaí issue advice to college students about how to stay safe

Now hear this! Gardaí issue advice to college students about how to stay safe

FILE PHOTO / PIXABAY

Gardaí have launched Campus Watch is similar to a residential Neighbourhood Watch scheme in that it is a crime prevention and community safety programme.

It operates as a partnership between An Garda Síochána and the Campus occupants. It works on the basis that every member of Campus can help to improve the quality of life on site by keeping a look out for students, staff, and visitors, and reporting suspicious activities to the Gardaí. There are campus watch liaison Gardaí in every part of the country and their role is to provide you with any assistance you may need. 

During the academic year gardaí run information campaigns designed to keep students safe and secure. This year will be challenging as there are two groupsof students effectively attending campus for the first time. We would ask students and parents alike to check out the Campus Watch Page on the Garda website which will provide plenty of information to help make your year a safe and secure one. 

Gardaí have issue the following advice to students:

Personal Safety 

As a freshman, get to know the geography of your campus as soon as you can. Find out about public transport timetables, where you can park vehicles or bikes securely, campus security buildings, and the local Garda Station. 

College life should be about experiencing new things but remember when you are going out to PLAN and be Streetwise: 

Plan your night out - how you are getting there and back,
Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back,
Avoid walking alone in dark areas,
Never attempt to reason with drunk or aggressive people and be
Streetwise, get to know the locality and the surroundings, and mind your valuables. 
It’s a good idea to upload emergency contacts onto your phone and activate Find my Phone on your device. 

Our Substance Misuse campaign is entitled “Rise Above the Influence” 

Fresher’s Week should be a time for celebration, the beginning of something good in your life.  Don’t let drug use end your career before it starts.   

If you use drugs such as Cannabis, Cocaine, Ketamine and MDMA, you are committing a criminal offence and also risking addiction, loss of career opportunities, under-achievement, and international travel restrictions. Taking other substances like cannabis edibles:  jellies, sweets, drinks, vapes, or synthetic cannabinoids or nitrous oxide balloons also carries health and prosecution risks. 

Taking un-prescribed ‘study’ drugs or sleeping pills can lead to anxiety, addiction and psychosis. Multiple or Poly-drug use is extremely dangerous and increases your risk of overdose or death. 

While we strive to keep people safe, we also believe that you can also help keep yourself safe.

Contact the emergency services if you become ill after consuming a drug or are in the presence of somebody who may be ill. 

Our “Rise above the influence” message is simple. Your future is in your hands. Seek out positive influences on Campus. Choose the influences which will enhance your future career. Make responsible decisions for yourself and be aware of those around you. Don’t become another victim of the drug trade.  

Consent

During your college life you will be experiencing new friendships and relationships. Respect each other’s boundaries and diversity. 

If you’re engaging in sexual activities, remember to always ask for consent and to communicate.

See https://usi.ie/consent/ 

Accommodation Frauds 

Gardaí are advising people to be wary of rental scams, particularly at this time of year when students are returning to college. 

There were a total of 503 cases of rental scams reported to An Garda Síochána between 1 February 2019 and 31 May 2021. 

These incidents have been declining in the last 18 months with Covid19, restrictions the likely cause of the decline. Almost half of these incidents occurred in the Dublin Region.

Just over €900,000 was stolen in rental scams over this period.

42% of all injured parties were under the age of 25.

72% of all injured parties were under the age of 35. 

Red Flags

When the landlord is unable to meet up to show you the property in person. Covid-19 restrictions no longer acceptable excuse.
When communication is only through Text / WhatsApp or other social media platform.
When the property is offered with no questions asked and payment demanded immediately before signing the lease.
When you are asked to pay cash, cryptocurrency or money via a non-bank transfer. (such as wire transfer) 

Check List

Never agree to rent a property without first having the opportunity to view it.
Do not hand over cash. Insist upon a proper receipt.
Ensure that the keys work and you have proper contact details for the landlord/agent.

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