Safety first during slack week
Re: Slack week safety
To the Editor:
Starting in the next few days, most of us are leaving London and heading to various Slack Week destinations. While personal safety is the last thing on most people's minds at the best of times, it's an issue which none of us can afford to ignore.
I would suggest that those of us who are staying in Canada for the break are at the lowest risk of becoming a victim of crime. Nonetheless, if you are travelling to Ottawa, Quebec City or Montreal, there is a real risk of becoming inadvertently involved in the large scale crowd violence which has plagued the bar strips in those cities over the last few years.
Avoid hanging around in the streets after bar closing hours this is when fights and even rioting tend to break out. While you yourself may not be actually involved, the arriving riot squad really has no way of distinguishing you from any of the other hundreds of people crowding around!
Crowds are also the ideal environment for pickpockets. In a crowded train station or airport, or in a nightclub, pickpockets thrive by robbing unsuspecting tourists. Of special note are the scams where someone will "accidentally" bump into you and spill their drink all over your clothing. While they "help" clean you off, apologizing profusely, an accomplice is stealing your wallet and passport.
If travelling to foreign destinations such as the Caribbean, don't stray into areas off the beaten track after dark. In particular, if in Mexico, do not take a taxi ride from an unlicensed taxi licensed ones should be called for you by your hotel or club. People who take unlicensed taxis are regularly robbed and worse.
Watch out for Rohypnol! Don't take drinks from anybody but the serving staff. Watch out for your friends! Don't let them get drunk and, drunk OR sober, don't let them go anywhere, even for a moment, with a stranger.
Avoid carrying valuables of any kind with you. Lock them up in your hotel safe and get a receipt for them. This includes your money, credit cards, passport, health card and anything else you can't afford to lose. Make photocopies of your valuable papers if they are lost, having copies makes them easier to replace.
Finally, on behalf of the USC, let me wish everybody a fun and refreshing Slack Week and hope that all of you return here in March with nothing but great tans and fantastic memories. Be safe!
Campus Safety Commissioner, USC