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Best and worst university locations for crime

Where's the safest university setting in England and Wales – and where are the student crime hotspots? We take a closer look at the Complete University Guide's (CUG) annual crime survey…

The CUG survey is compiled from official police data for the crimes most likely to be encountered by students: burglary, robbery and violent crime. Universities are ranked on the cumulative rate of all three crimes (per 1,000 residents) from July 2016 to June 2017 within a three-mile radius of the main university campus. Additionally, the data refers to the local population as a whole, not just students. 

University locations with highest crime rates

Size matters. Large universities in big cities were the common denominator in this list. Location-wise, the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside had the highest crime rates outside London.

1. University of Manchester
2. Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
3. University of Bradford
4. Royal Northern College of Music    
5. Teesside University
6. Southampton Solent University    
7. Leeds Arts University
8. University of Bolton    
9. University of Liverpool
10. De Montfort University

University locations with lowest crime rates

Perhaps unsurprisingly, universities with the lowest crime rates tend to be located in rural settings, in small cities or towns and are predominantly self-contained campus sites. 

1. Royal Agricultural University    
2. University of York    
3. Falmouth University    
4. University of Buckingham    
5. Rose Bruford College    
6. University of Reading
7. University of Winchester    
8. Harper Adams University   
9. Oxford Brookes University    
10. University of Bath


But what about London?

The universities based in and around the capital have been categorised separately, given the far higher crime rates compared with other regions. Here are the London-based universities with the lowest crime rates:

Top five London unis: lowest crime rates

1. Rose Bruford College    
2. St Mary's University, Twickenham   
3. Kingston University   
4. St George's, University of London    
5. Royal Veterinary College University of London

Top five London unis: highest crime rates

1. Courtauld Institute of Art
2. London School of Economics
3. UCL (University College London)
4. King's College London
5. Royal Academy of Music

You can take a look at the full list of universities ranked by their local crime levels over on the CUG website.

Staying safe on campus

Wherever you choose to study, there will always be the risk of crime – and even if a university has one of the lowest crime rates around, you still need to take sensible precautions.

Similarly, you shouldn't completely avoid  a city university that’s set in a higher crime rate area. Just ensure you're minimising the risks and being aware of safety and security. Stay safe with these top tips:

Simple home security

  • Ensure your house or room is securely locked, that windows aren’t left open – and keep valuables out of sight.
  • Take expensive items home over the holidays or whenever your student house is left unoccupied for long periods of time.
  • If your accommodation hasn't got much in the way of security, speak to your landlord or university about installing some simple security measures, including padlocks and extra locks.


After a night out:

  • Make sure you leave with friends – if you can’t find them, call a cab. Use official taxi ranks and save the number of at least one recommended taxi firm in your phone.
  • Take advantage of university-run night transport. Many student unions put on free night bus services from events.
  • Know your limits where alcohol is concerned. Getting paralytic doesn’t equate to having a good time and makes you far more vulnerable to crime.


Out and about

  • Invest in a bike lock and use it – even at home!
  • If you have a car, don't leave valuables such as sat navs on show, and be mindful of where you're parking.
  • Don't let your mobile phone distract you completely when you're out – stay aware of your surroundings.

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