Unfortunately, the most recent figures show that crime is indeed on the rise in Manchester. In fact, statistics show that, last year, 216,493 crimes were reported – that’s an increase of 18,907 on the year before. Furthermore, according to the Sun, people living in Greater Manchester are the third most likely UK residents to be the a victim of crime.
This presents travellers with a dilemma. On the one hand, Manchester offers a great deal of attractions. On the other, is visiting them worth the risk?
We’re based in Chorley, just down the road from Manchester, and we’ll always argue that Manchester is well worth visiting. To get things into perspective, the UK is in general a very safe country. That means that even the UK’s most dangerous areas are, in global terms, very safe.
However, like any big city, there are certain things you need to be aware of in Manchester, and a few precautions you can take to help stay safe.
• Avoid looking overly touristy – that means no standing around looking at maps and no cameras dangling from the neck.
• In crowded areas – such as on trams or buses – keep your wallet in your front pocket (and place your hand on it) or keep your handbag closed and hold it in front of you.
• Don’t flaunt expensive belongings, such as cameras, smart phones, jewellery or cash, in public.
• Be cautious when using ATMs and make sure not to carry too much cash on your person.
• At night, avoid walking and instead opt for a public transport or a taxi. If walking is absolutely necessary, stick to well lit, public areas. (See our tips for how to walk safely at night).
• If you need directions or help, approach either a police officer or a store owner.
Pickpocketing is also a problem in Manchester, with spates of the crime making the headlines every few years. To prevent being stolen from:
• Prepare properly. Create copies of all your important documents. This includes your passport, prescriptions, tickets and itinerary. Leave these copies in your hotel room and keep them separated from the originals.
• Don’t carry valuables. Expensive gear, such as a laptop or tablet, is much safer left in your hotel room than being carried around in a rucksack or satchel.
• Secure your bag. Pickpockets will avoid creating a disturbance. It suits them much better to separate you from your valuables quickly and efficiently. This means that minor obstacles can be enough to put many off. When sitting, loop a strap around your arm, leg or chair. When sleeping, fasten your valuables to your body with a clip. Use a twist-tie, paper clip or keyring to keep your bag secured properly.
• Consider a money belt. A money belt is a fabric pouch on an elastic strip that fastens around your waist. Ideal for carrying important documents, cash and personal identification, money belts are worn underneath clothing for maximum security.
• Stay vigilant. Pickpockets will try to confuse unsuspecting travellers. So be wary if an argument, fight or jostle occurs on your train. Watch out for crowds, since these provide thieves with plenty of targets and escape routes. And remain alert when train doors open, since this is the perfect time for a grab and run.
A few other things to bear in mind when travelling to the UK.
Traffic. It’s important to remember that cars drive on the left in Manchester. To make sure you cross roads safely, use only designated crossings and cross only when the green man is showing. Take note of signs telling you to “look right” and “look left”.
Bars and restaurants. Don’t take drinks from strangers. Store property safely under the table. Check up on your friends by phone or by text to make sure they get home safely.
Street food. Manchester offers a fantastic variety of street food vendors. If you decide to use one, make sure they are displaying a vendor’s license on their cart.
Churchill Security is a national, cross-industry security company. A trusted Manchester security provider, we only deploy the most highly-trained SIA licensed security guards and offer a truly customer-centric approach. Get in touch today if you’re looking to hire security in Manchester.