The most recent figures show that crime is indeed on the rise in Manchester. In fact, statistics show that between March 2018 and March 2019, 426, 894 crimes were reported – that’s an increase of 4.14 percent from the same period between 2017 and 2018.
Worryingly, Greater Manchester Police have said that 43 percent of crimes are not investigated due to a lack of resources.
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?
Our Head Office is 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. Keep them in your front pockets if possible or tuck them inside the inside pockets of your bag rather than outside waiting to be unzipped/reached into.
• Be cautious when using ATMs and make sure not to carry too much cash around with you.
• At night, avoid walking and instead opt for 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. Whilst it’s great downloading map directions on your smartphone/tablet, if this is stolen you might want to keep a physical printed copy of directions to places for safety.
• Download the CitizenAid App, a free smartphone application which helps people in emergency situations such as earthquakes, stabbings, terrorist attacks, explosions, acid burns and many more.
• Opt for cheaper clothes and accessories if you’re not fussy about your garms. People wearing expensive designer clothes and accessories often present themselves as an attractive target to criminals.
• Stay connected – whether it’s using roaming data on your smartphone or using the hotel WiFi, keep up to date with what’s happening in the city the week you’ll arrive. You don’t want to discover there’s a marathon on the same street as your hotel, with no access at certain times of the day.
• Likewise, it’s a good idea to read up on any protests or football matches occurring during your stay. Keeping in the loop with current affairs/news stories in Manchester will also go a long way to feel sure you’ll be safe travelling in and out of the city.
• Take a portable phone or tablet charger with you and charge up your device enough so that you won’t run out of battery.
• Face oncoming traffic when walking along the pavement, as you’ll be less likely to have thieves come up behind you on bikes, mopeds or cars.
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 inside a locker than being carried around in a rucksack or satchel. If your room doesn’t have a locker, try and store your device underneath clothing in your suitcase or in an non-obvious zipped compartment.
• 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.
• Serial numbers. Make a note of your digital devices’ serial numbers, so that it’s easier to trace them if they’re robbed. Each of them is unique.
A few other things to bear in mind when travelling to the UK.
Traffic. If you’re not from the UK, it’s important to remember that cars drive on the left in Manchester. To make sure you cross the 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.