Complete University Guide reveals the best and worst cities for student-related crimes


The best – and worst – cities for student-related crimes are published today by the authoritative and independent Complete University Guide.

The ranking is compiled from official police data and gives the clearest picture possible of the crime rates in the 25 towns and cities outside London with two or more universities.

Canterbury, Bath and Lancaster are the cities with the lowest cumulative crime rates, while Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham are 18th,19th and 20th in England and Wales.

Of the four cities in Scotland with two or more universities, Aberdeen has the best rate, and Glasgow the worst.

It is estimated that a third of students become victims of crime, mainly theft and burglary, and about 20 per cent of student robberies occur in the first six weeks of the academic year.

Official data for crimes affecting students are not available, so the Complete University Guide has selected three crimes as most relevant to students, namely burglary, robbery and assault. The ranking is based on the cumulative rate of all three crimes.

Bernard Kingston, founder of the Complete University Guide, says: "While these crimes are the three most commonly perpetrated against students, the figures relate to all victims, not just students. No such comparable data exist for university students, either on or off campuses, but it would be reassuring for university applicants and their parents if they did. It is clearly a matter of considerable concern when considering where to study as an undergraduate."

The cities at the top and bottom of the table are home to some of the highest ranked universities in the 2012 edition of the Complete University Guide. Bath is 10th in the overall guide, while the University of Kent at Canterbury is 34th. In bottom of the table Nottingham, the University of Nottingham is 17th, while in Manchester the University of Manchester is 29th. The University of Bristol is ranked 11th out of all UK universities in this year’s guide.

Cambridge dropped two places to 9th compared with 2010, slipping behind Oxford which remains in eighth position.

Manchester is worst for robbery of personal property (muggings) and burglaries, but Nottingham, which has been bottom of the table in three out of the past four annual rankings, suffers from a higher rate of violence against the person, closely followed by Southampton.

Dr Kingston said: “While the quality of tuition and the prospects for employment after graduation are key elements in choosing a university course, it is important not to overlook other aspects of the environment in which the student will be living for three or more years.

“Regrettably, our university cities are not immune from the pressures on society and crime is a constant presence.”

The Complete University Guide website offers a number of top tips to help students keep safe and secure their possessions, including:

  • Carry a personal alarm.
  • Try to avoid walking home on your own in the dark and make sure you are familiar with any late night transport.
  • Always carry laptops hidden inside a sports bag rather than in an obvious case.
  • Make sure outside doors are fitted with a Yale-type lock and five lever mortise deadlock.

Nova Jayne Robinson, Director of Robinson Digital Publishing, partners in the Complete University Guide website, said: “A choice of university should not be governed by the crime rate for the city where it is located, but neither should potential students be unaware of the level of risk so that they can plan accordingly.”

The crime figures are complementary to the Complete University Guide’s Main and Subject tables. Users can search the guide for the best-performing universities across 62 academic subjects, and will also find details of graduate employment rates and starting salaries, together with detailed profiles of each university, what bursaries and scholarships they offer, and profiles of towns and cities with two or more universities.