I’m sure that everyone has been told not to go to certain places at night. There’s roads you shouldn’t go down or people you shouldn’t talk to. You shouldn’t go through parks at night, I remember being told when I was younger – however, many students need to cross through areas such as Bede Park or cut through the city centre at night to make it home.
The past few days has proven the warnings of parents to be correct; the sudden rise in attacks in and around campus, and as you travel further into the city has impacted many members of the public and DMU students. The nature of the attacks, being so close to campus and even, at one time, on campus, presents the possibility that these attacks are aimed at students. Regardless of whether or not they are targeted specifically at DMU students, we should all take precautions, in general.
The attacks, although they have occurred throughout the Leicester area, as many of you may have been told by your societies or friends, have impacted students especially in and around the campus area – such as Bede Park.
Nathaniel Corns, Editor in Chief for The Demon Magazine, made a post, informing us to “Make sure you’re not walking alone, and that no one in the group has to walk alone at any point”, adding that, “If you do experience anything, make sure you let DMU security and/or the police aware.”
A similar message was posted by Ashton Matthews, Head of Station at DemonTV: ”Please be careful when you’re out and about especially at night. Walk in groups and try to avoid walking along the canal at night.”
She added “Don’t let this stop you having fun but it would break my heart to see any of you get hurt so please be aware of what is happening and just be careful.”
I also visited the offices of the DSU to see if they could help in any way. In terms of advice surrounding the attacks, I was told to “contact the police first if it’s an immediate threat but to contact DMU Security if you don’t feel safe in the area.”
The representative I spoke to informed me that DMU Security and the DSU are planning to meet and to “organise the best approach” to deal with the current situation. They also made it clear that their focus “is the welfare of students and seeking the best way forward.”
Conor Whelan, a student at DMU, made a post on Facebook about his recent attack, which took place on the night of the 17th of October: “Last night I got jumped by 8 people who punched me and kicked me on the floor and robbed my phone and wallet”. He urges others “especially in the Leicestershire area, or any other parts, just always be careful walking home. Make the choice of getting a taxi for a couple of quid extra just to be safe.”
He was lucky enough to come away from the encounter with only “a broken nose and heavy bruising”, noting that “it could have been much worse.” He hopes that these attacks do not happen to others.
I got into contact with Whelan to see if he had any further comments and if I could share his story. He reasserted his focuses on “awareness, being safe and, if they insist on walking home, go in groups”, something he feels is far more important due to the recent rise in crimes and attacks in Leicester.
Of course, the go-to phone number is 999 for any emergencies. However, I must add that the number for DMU Security is 0116 357 7642. They are available 24/7 throughout the year. You should contact this number for any emergencies on campus. It’s surprising how few students know this number until the time comes for them to use it – something which has happened all too often the past few days – so, please, I would urge you to have this number saved in your contacts.
I was originally unsure of making this article. For one, I didn’t want to get things incorrect in any way and, secondly, I wanted to make sure that this article was to both report on the incidents and to bring awareness to the series of attacks in some effort to help prevent them or, at least, to help make them known. I was worried of seeming insensitive by reaching out to those who have contributed to this article.
I was surprised by how wrong I was; everyone I contacted wanted to contribute, they wanted to provide anything they could, even pointing me in the direction of those who could help or provide anything that could add to this piece. It gave me a renewed confidence; people weren’t afraid to speak out or tell their story. They gladly gave me all the information that would make this piece into both a warning and to make sure that no one else has to experience what previous victims went through.
Even through cases as awful, morbid and, especially, far too frequent as these attacks, we all still remain optimistic and trust that the university, its security staff and facilities will make an effort to prevent this from happening in the future or, at the very least, ensure that this information can reach as many as it can.
Please, be careful out there.