UK Higher Education

Students at Universities in the South likely to be freer from crime than North – research by show

Students at universities in the South West of England and the South East outside London are less likely to be the victims of crime than students in the North, according to analysis of official police data by ranking gives the most authoritative picture possible of the crime rates for the most relevant offences affecting students at almost 130 universities and other higher education institutions in England and Wales.

After the South West, the South East is the second safest region in which to study, while the East of England, Wales and London are also above the national average.

  Robbery Burglary Violence & Sexual Offences Total
South West 0.94 7.02 26.59 34.55
South East 1.13 7.46 27.44 36.04
West Midlands 2.48 8.28 26.41 37.16
East of England 1.44 7.8 29.97 39.22
Wales 0.64 7.25 33.21 41.12
London 4.1 9.72 28.38 42.19
East Midlands 1.85 12.42 31.67 45.93
Yorkshire and the Humber 1.85 11.66 33.07 46.61
North West 2.85 11.73 37.69 52.3
North East 1.26 10.12 41.38 52.82 has taken professional advice on the crimes most relevant to students. It uses three offences: burglary, robbery and violence and sexual crimes. Universities are then ranked on the cumulative rate of all three crimes occurring over 12 months in those areas where students live in term-time. While these offences are the three of greatest relevance to students, the figures themselves are based on all victims in the locality, not just students.

As official data for crimes affecting students are not available, and universities do not publish any data on a comparable basis, the figures relate to all crimes within the three categories. They are not a direct measure of these crimes against students.

The Top Ten universities and colleges for low crime levels are:

  Institution Robbery Burglary Violence & Sexual Offences Total
1 Royal Agricultural University 0.4 6.1 10.6 17.1
2 York 0.2 3.3 13.9 17.4
3 Falmouth 0.2 2.2 16.2 18.6
4 Buckingham 0.7 4.2 14.4 19.3
5 Rose Bruford College 1.4 5.7 15.2 22.3
6 Reading 0.6 6.5 15.6 22.7
7 Winchester 0.4 4.8 18 23.2
8= Harper Adams 0.2 6.2 17 23.4
8= Oxford Brookes 0.6 6.6 16.2 23.4
10 Bath 0.9 5.8 19.3 26



The ten universities with the highest levels of relevant crimes are:

  Institution Robbery Burglary Violence & Sexual Offences Total  
126 Courtauld Institute of Art 9.9 15.8 56.6 82.2
125 Manchester 6.7 18.2 48.6 73.5
124 Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts 4.1 15.1 53.8 73.1
123 Bradford 2.5 14.3 56.2 73
122= London School of Economics 8.8 17.2 43.9 70
122= Royal Northern College of Music 7.6 14.5 47.9 70
121 Teesside 1.8 14.2 50.3 66.4
120 Southampton Solent 3.1 15.4 47.1 65.6
119 Leeds Arts University 3 16.6 45.9 65.5
118 Bolton 2.6 13.7 45.4 61.8


In 2016, significantly revised its methodology so that comparisons with earlier years are not significant. They no longer relate to areas within three miles of the designated main campus. Instead they are derived from the term-time addresses given by students themselves. Figures for 2016 and 2017 are comparable.

Other key findings:

  • The rate for the three student-relevant crimes in the areas where students live in England and Wales is 43 per 1,000 residents
  • Burglary rates are lowest in the South East (7.02) and highest in Yorkshire and the Humber (11.66), the North West (11.73) and the East Midlands (12.42)
  • Robbery rates are below two incidents per 1,000 residents in every region except for the London (4.1), the North West (2.85) and the West Midlands (2.48)
  • Violence and sexual violence rates are lowest in the West Midlands (26.41) and South West (26.59), and highest in the North West (37.69) and North East (41.38)

Dr Bernard Kingston, principal author of, said: “Despite suggestions that universities may be becoming more willing to disclose crime figures on campus, this has yet to be translated into reality, and, because there is no information on the impact of crime on students off campus, our figures are the best guide available for would-be students and their parents to assess the relative risks between universities.

“Our data accurately reflect the levels of crime of greatest relevance to students in the streets where they live while studying at university. They provide information that is not available to students from their prospective choices of university and which, alongside other advice, assist them to make informed decisions about where to live and study.

“In 2016 we refined our methodology to reflect the level of crime where students live while studying. This is fairer to universities in city centres or with multiple campuses.” publishes top tips to help students keep safe and secure their possessions.

Notes for editors

  • The full tables can be viewed here.
  • The data, from July 2016 to June 2017, correlate crime and population for wards or electoral divisions weighted by the student population as determined by postcode supplied to the Higher Education Statistics Agency for term-time residence. They comprise reported offences of burglary, robbery and assault recorded at uk
  • Comparable data for Scotland and Northern Ireland are not available. Where universities have multiple campuses, the figures relate to the aggregate for the institution. Crime levels by campus can be accessed in the attached table or on the universities’ profiles on web site.
  • Because they are based on resident populations and therefore take no account of short-stay visitors and commuters, the figures may over-represent crime levels. However, for the cities listed, this reporting problem is a common issue and the relative crime rates remain valid.
  • The crime figures are complementary to’s Main and Subject Users can search for the best-performing universities and find details of graduate employment rates and starting salaries. They also have access to detailed profiles of each university, what bursaries and scholarships they offer, and profiles of towns and cities with two or more universities.
  • is a fully independent brand and product of the Hotcourses Group, a multinational business with offices in the UK, North America, Asia and Australia


David Jobbins: +44 (0) 7770 452 047 or email

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