Students and young people in Middlesbrough have voiced their growing concerns about a night out in the town.
Tuxtra spoke to a number of students about their experiences of a night out in ‘Boro’.
In recent years, Middlesbrough has seen a rise in night club violence and spikings and was rated by ‘Crime Rate’ in 2022 as the most dangerous city in North Yorkshire.
February this year also saw the temporary closure of Middlesbrough’s popular nightclub ‘Empire’ following a number of incidents.
Over 30 incidents had been allegedly reported there, the most serous being a stabbing involving two underage youths.
The nightclub, which boasts its themed nights such as ‘Creeps’ and ‘Shangri-la’, was ordered to close by Middlesbrough Council for four weeks with its license being suspended for the duration.
Alongside these frequent c, a wave of spiking have also impacted the nightlife within the last year.
This caused ‘Empire’ to implement the use of cup covers to help prevent and put a stop to attempted spikings.
Isabelle Tyler is a 20-year student midwife at Teesside University.
She said: “Middlesbrough’s nightlife is not for the faint hearted. The constant feeling of being on edge makes you not enjoy your night out.”
“Groups of young men and homeless people are heckling constantly at girls.
“No matter how many bouncers and police are present it is improbable to feel safe in this environment.”
Mae Thomas, 21, works in admin at Teesside University.
She said: “I feel partially safe going out in Middlesbrough on a weekend.”
“Empire do full body scans and check bags upon entry and they also offer glass toppers and drink covers to ensure drinks are safe.
“This makes the night enjoyable as I feel protected from spiking.
“For me, it’s the long journey home that makes me feel unsafe, it normally takes nearly an hour to get home.
“Even then we stand outside waiting for a taxi which does not feel safe with the drunk men fighting outside and people shouting over to us.”
Alisha Harrison,22, a former Paramedic student at Teesside University.
She said: “I feel safe as I always see a lot of people I’m friends with when I’m out due to it being my local area so I often bump into people I know or my friends know.”
“We’re very limited for choice however so I find it more convenient than enjoyable at times, I’ve witnessed a girl my age being unwell from spiking so it’s made me more cautious about going out.
“However, it’s the drunk actions of men that put me and my friends off.
“There is no prevention or help offered when we’re being knocked into by grown men .”
Maisie Ward, 21, Manager at Mcdonalds.
She said: “Going out in Middlesbrough is one of my favourite things to do with my friends.”
“It’s a nice way for us to relax on our days off together.
“However, there has been times where I’ve felt quite uncomfortable in a nightclub when receiving unwanted attention from very drunk people there.
“This can sometimes be hard to avoid when it’s busy as there’s not much room to move about.
“I also sometimes worry about being spiked when in a nightclub however Empire provide drinks covers which makes me feel a lot safer when I’m there.”
William Doe, 20, Sports Science student at Teesside University.
“Going out in Middlesbrough can be safe, when with groups or friends I feel a lot more comfortable going to the nightclubs.”
“However, with the constant reports of stabbings and people being spiked, it feels very unsafe when I’m on my own.
“Especially when in the nightclub where numerous spiking incidents have occurred which I have seen first hand, which makes me very uncomfortable when going out.
“However, they have put precautions in with the drink covers, but still makes me feel at risk with the rising spiking numbers.”
Beth Chapman,19, Business student at Leeds Beckett University.
“I don’t go out much in Middlesbrough anymore now that I live away, but when I do I feel unsafe and a bit wary, especially around getting spiked.”
“There are preventions like cup covers but it still doesn’t stop spikings.”