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Video released of attack on exchange student

City of Copenhagen's safe image tarnished by TV2 release of attack on American student: No-one came to help

Video footage released by Danish TV2 shows an attack on Nick Townsell, a former American exchange student at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad DIS, last November, 2012, on the 6A bus line in Copenhagen. Apparently, other passengers were too scared to help. (See video here)

To the TV2 programme Nick Townsell says »I am frustrated and shocked that no-one helped me«.

Police investigator Mads Helios criticised the lack of response from other bus passengers in the programme: »At the least you should get hold of the bus driver, so he can notify the bus centre, or press an alarm button,« he said.

4 out of 5 ‘feel safe’

It is believed the attack had racist motives.

Studies consistently portray Copenhagen as a relatively safe place to be with low crime rates and high perceptions of safety.

According to the OECD Better Life Index , 3.9 per cent of people in Denmark have been the victims of assault in the last 12 months, compared to the OECD average of 4.0. Four out of every five individuals report that they feel safe walking alone at night.

Ranks well, but concerns are rising

Although Copenhagen residents generally feel safe while experiencing Copenhagen’s night life, concerns are rising, according to news reports.

»Even though people feel safe, every fourth person asked indicated that safety was the most important challenge in Copenhagen at the moment, second only to the creation of jobs and growth. The figure marks a 10 percent rise compared with last year.« Lea Bryld, a spokesperson for the city’s safety commission, Center for Sikker By, told Politiken newspaper as quoted in the Copenhagen Post last year.

In a Eurostat report (the latest is from 2006), less than 5 per cent of respondents in Copenhagen reported never, or rarely, feeling safe in their neighbourhood and the city, the fifth lowest ranking out of 75 cities. (See full report here)

Stay safe

DIS, a partner institution to the University of Copenhagen that receives nearly a thousand, mostly American, students a year, has a formal guideline for student safety, and briefs students at the beginning of their stay.

Anette Frederiksen, the director of student affairs at DIS, explains to the University Post that »DIS has a orientation meeting, where students are informed about safety guidelines for both group and individual scenarios. We evaluate, and re-evaluate the guidelines often«.

To the University Post, Anette offers recommendations to newcomers in Copenhagen, see the fact box right. While generally being safe in a dangerous environment means being as inconspicuous as possible. If attacked, the opposite recommendation goes into effect: Make a note of yourself and scream for help.

Share your tips

The University Post is always looking for additional safety tips that we can share with our readers. Write them below or contact us on the e-mail here.

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