A fresher's guide to staying safe in Cardiff…

Freshers' week brings thousands of new students to Cardiff ready to embark on three years of hard work, study and the occasional night out.

Cardiff is a great place to live and study but like all major cities there is potential for things to go wrong if you don't take good care of your personal safety and property.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "Cardiff's student population plays a big part in making the city such a vibrant place to live and I'd like to offer all the new students arriving in the Welsh capital during the Fresher's period a very warm welcome."

"We want students to have an enjoyable, productive, and most importantly, safe time here. The work we're doing with our partners via the Students' Unions and Community Partnership Forum is key to improving student wellbeing as well as addressing off campus issues that affect the whole community."

The forum is led by the Council's Student Liaison Officer and made up of representatives from Cardiff Metropolitan Students' Union, Cardiff University Students' Union, University of South Wales Students' Union, South Wales Police, British Transport Police, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Student Volunteering Cardiff.

Here are the forum's top ten tips for staying safe in the Welsh capital:

  1. Make sure your nights out are memorable for the right reasons - avoid drinks you haven't seen poured and never leave a drink unattended. Remember that if you're excessively drunk bars won't allow you in or serve you alcohol.


  1. If you find yourself stranded at the end of a night out with no money and no way of getting home, call Dragon Taxis on 029 2033 3333 and quote ‘Cardiff University, University of South Wales or Cardiff Met Safe Taxi Scheme', giving your name and student number.They'll take you home safely and when you recover you can pay the fare at the Finance Office/Information Desk in your Students' Union. Remember - you'll lose access to university services such as the library and IT systems if you don't pay up!

  1. Never get into an unlicensed taxi. Ask your SU for details of trusted local taxi firms, and travel with friends. There are two types of taxi vehicle in Cardiff - Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles. Hackney Carriages (black and whites) can be hailed from the roadside. Private Hire vehicles must be pre-booked. For journeys that start and finish within the city boundaries, it is a criminal offence for a Hackney Carriage driver to refuse a fare (without a reasonable excuse), not use a meter or charge more than the metered fare.

  1. Don't make yourself an easy target. Plan ahead - know where you're going, how you are getting there and who you are meeting. Always plan your return journey and tell friends of your whereabouts. Check out the Panic Guard personal safety app at

  1. Never go home with, accept a lift from, or go home with a stranger, no matter how tired, wet or late you are. Stay with your friends when you're out and make sure you all go home together.

  1. Avoid legal highs. Legal doesn't mean safe and the side effects caused by legal drugs can be the same as illegal drugs. These psychoactive substances contain various chemical substances that can induce feelings of anxiety, panic, confusion, paranoia and even cause psychosis which can lead you to put your own safety at risk. Synthetic cannabinoids can lead to severe or even life-threatening intoxication.

  1. Laptops, tablets and mobile phones are must have items for criminals as well as students so make sure you ‘lock it, hide it, keep it!' Student accommodation is often a tempting target for thieves so before you go out, check that all windows and doors are locked. You should also register your possessions withwww.immobilise.comand mark your property with a UV pen. Don't attach your name or address to your house keys, and avoid keeping spare keys hidden under the front door mat or in other locations outside the property.

  1. Don't leave cooking unattended as since 2014, 63% of house fires in South Wales started in the kitchen. Also avoid charging your phones, laptops and tablets overnight as South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, since 2014, have attended over 295 accidental fires caused by faulty wiring and overloaded plugs.

  1. Badly fitted and maintained gas appliances can kill. Ask for a copy of your landlord's current gas safety record before you move in to a property and co-operate when a registered engineer comes to carry out a safety check or service.

  1. Cycling is a cheap and easy way to get around the city - but make sure you follow the highway code, don't cycle on pavements, fit your bike with front and rear lights and buy a Home Office-approved "Sold Secure" bike lock. You can register your bike, and also record the serial number and take a photograph of your bicycle, so that if the worst does happen the chances of your bike being recovered is greatly increased.

If you are a student and would like more information on safety or community matters, please