Some young people worry about staying safe. Overall, Oxfordshire is a safe county, and violent crimes are rare. But incidents and accidents do happen.
You can help keep you and your friends safe by:
- Looking out for each other
- Avoiding arguments and trouble
- Planning your journeys and being aware of your surroundings
Whether you're out with friends, family, or on your own, you can do your bit to keep everyone safe.
Crucial: Find out about how to deal with violent situations from Thames Valley Police.
Out on your own
Lots of people walk home or go out alone after dark, as part of their normal lives. This should be safe. But you can take steps to make your journey safer:
- Plan your route
- Use well lit, busy streets
- Avoid alleys or risky short cuts
Pay attention to your surroundings and be extra aware when walking past bars or pubs, as people leaving them may be unpredictable if they’ve been drinking.
Crucial: Some people can feel stressed in busy situations. If you feel you need to call someone you can get on a bus, or go to shops, shopping centres, library or other public locations. Some may display a Safe Haven or Safe Places sticker. You can call for help from there.
Public transport and taxis
Oxfordshire's trains and buses are very safe. They have cameras, and staff or drivers can call for help if you are being harassed. But it helps to be prepared
- If you're travelling with friends, look out for them
- Make sure you know when your last bus or train is, and have a back up plan for if you miss it
- Make sure your mobile phone is charged and on
If you are using taxis, pre-book, and always use licensed vehicles.
Find out more: Using public transport safely is a skill for life. Find out more about travel safety.
For over 18s, drinking alcohol may be part of an evening out. But drinking is risky. Plan your route home carefully, and make sure you look out for your friends.
Crucial: Try to avoid routes home which take you past risks like dangerous roads and rivers.
Harassed for being young?
Some young people report that other people harass them in the street. This can happen when young people are intimidated or targeted for begging by street substance misusers or rough sleepers. If this happens to you:
- Threats, verbal abuse or assault can be reported to the police either online or call 101
- You can report someone sleeping rough via Street Link - they will be supported to solve problems
Some children and young people feel they are being targeted just for being young. But this is usually not the main reason. Adults report that they are more concerned when:
- People gather in large groups
- They make a lot of noise or disturbance
- It sounds like there are threats or bullying
If you feel unsafe when you are out and about the safest thing to do is leave and go home.
Crucial: The biggest risk to children and young people is other young people. Large groups can be dangerous, especially if some people in the group are already in trouble. A crucial part of being out and about is knowing when it's time to go home.
How safe do you feel in your area?
Some people in Oxfordshire report that they feel afraid in their area or in other areas they visit. But you can take steps to help your area seem like a safer and more friendly place.
Learning to travel in your area and beyond is a core skill for all adults, and you can take steps to make your area a better place.
Take Action: Find out how to report Litter and Graffiti in Oxfordshire.
Sexual, racist or homophobic harassment
Sexual, racist or homophobic harassment should not be part of an evening out. If you are harassed, report it.
Crucial: Are you or a friend being persistently targeted with sexual harassment or sexual proposals? If you are under 18, this is Child Sexual Exploitation.
If something happens
If you feel you’re being followed, don’t panic. Stay alert and enter a well-lit public building, like a shop or restaurant. Then phone someone you trust. If you don’t have a phone, ask if you can use the building’s phone.
If you’re really worried, call the police’s non-emergency line on 101. If you are in immediate danger, call 999. Other things which might help:
- Carry your bag close to you and securely closed.
- Carry your house keys and wallet in a secure, inside pocket.
- Keep your mobile charged and to hand.
- If you use a wheelchair, keep valuables beside you, rather than at the back of the chair.
If someone grabs your bag, let go. Your safety is more important than your property. If you are attacked, dial 999 and ask for police. This will work on any phone.
Crucial: Being attacked is rare. But people who have attacked one person usually go on to attack others, sometimes on the same night. Always report the incident right away, even if you are fine. The next person targeted may be less lucky or more vulnerable, and you could save someone's life.
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