Moving to London? You may be wondering if London is safe for living in.
Overall, London is generally a safe city to live, study and explore. However, just like in any big city, taking precautions is always best. So, in this guide, we’ll go through a few tips for staying safe in the UK capital.
Whether you are a student, tourist, or resident, exploring London city and the surrounding areas is an exciting experience. You’ll be finding your independence for the first time as you move out from your parent’s house. And, if you’re studying in London, it’s only natural to wonder how safe this big city is. London is one of the UK’s largest tourist hotspots with many things to do, it’s always crowded and fast-paced. However, like anywhere, there are risks you should be aware of. Keep reading as we share our safety advice…
London Safety for International Students
Whether you are travelling halfway across the road or a short-haul flight away, being an international student in one of the liveliest cities can feel very daunting, to begin with. The British Council’s Education Intelligence Unit conducted research that found that a country being a safe place to study is the fifth most important influencing factor when deciding to study overseas. Wanting to make sure that your son, daughter or relative is safe where they are studying gives them reassurance with being so far from home.
As well as safety, understanding any rules and regulations which are different in the UK is important to know. From standing on the correct side of the escalator when getting the tube to never making eye contact with strangers, other aspects of safety and rituals are important to follow in the big city.
5 London Safety Tips You Need to Know
Tip 1- Be cautious!
When it comes to staying safe in London, the best advice is to be cautious and use your common sense. If something doesn’t feel right, walk away. Stick to the usual precautions you would in any large city. Although London is generally safe, we have listed ways to reduce risks.
Tip 2 – Safe travel in London by knowing your way around
Knowing your way around London, whether this is in the city centre or the surrounding areas, is important. With millions of people travelling on various transport routes every day, using the city’s safest and most well-known forms of transport will get you from A to B in the quickest and safest way.
London’s bus services are available in and around the city centre, providing transport during rush hours and casual travel. The busier forms of transport include the tubes and the trains, where you are more vulnerable. The northern and central lines run above 100% capacity during peak times, closely followed by the Jubilee and Victoria lines. If you are a student, who has just moved to the city, these types of crowds can be very overwhelming. However, if you are travelling to and from a location within the London region, take the following precautions:
• When travelling, plan your route before you leave
• Only use registered taxis
• Don’t travel alone in the dark. Keep to well-lit main roads.
• Always be aware of your surroundings
• Avoid alleys and back streets
The same precautions apply if you are walking, cycling, and getting a taxi in and around the London region. Being aware of your surroundings and planning your route to and from campus as a student is important.
Tip 3 – Make sure all your valuables are secure
This includes your mobile phone, passport and money – keep that home in a safe place in your accommodation. When out and about always pay for things using your bank card to avoid carrying cash. Always keep an eye on your belongings and never leave them unattended, especially in crowded areas. And, finally, any valuables you really need to carry around with you such as your mobile phone – keep them in a secure zipped pocket or bag.
Tip 4 – Stay in regular contact with friends and family about your whereabouts
Keeping your loved ones in the loop with your whereabouts can provide peace of mind, and can be a valuable safety net in case of an emergency. It allows someone to know where you are and when to expect you. This way, if something happens, your loved ones can quickly contact the authorities and provide them with your last known location.
Tip 5 – Be safe at night with our London nightlife safety guide…
As well as travelling around London, dining out in London’s most famous food courts and restaurants have its own hazards. As a new student living in London, be cautious of your belongings and surroundings when going nightclubbing in Camden and Kentish Town. Take these tips and advice before a night out:
• Don’t leave your drink unattended
• Don’t accept drinks from strangers
• Never leave your personal belongings unattended
• Always stay with your friends or family
In any case of an emergency, always too sure to have a friend or family’s emergency contact details on your phone.
Kentish Town Safety
Kentish Town has a low crime rate, making it safe for new students to travel to and from Kentish Town Student Accommodation. There is plenty of green, open space areas nearby including Regents Park and Hampstead Heath, where students can safely explore and enjoy themselves with friends.
Unlike Camden Town, Kentish Town isn’t as lively and busy, however, there is a range of restaurants and things to do in the area.
Despite having low crime rates, travelling with a friend around Kentish Town in the evenings or late at night is advised. There are plenty of transport options both public and private to get you around. There is a Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) in Kentish Town. This is a group of Met police officers dedicated to serving this community. The team comprises officers based in the area (or ‘ward’), supported by additional officers from the wider area.
For more information, read our Kentish Town Area Guide.
Camden Town Safety
The popular area of Camden Town is a busy place full of residents, tourists, and students. Camden is classed as a safe area making it the perfect for students to travel to and from their Camden Accommodation into the city centre. It is rare that the streets are empty, with a range of bars, restaurants, and attractions available to the public. It is advised to travel in a group rather than alone after dark as you don’t want to draw attraction to yourself.
With this being said, don’t let this stop you from enjoying what Camden Town has to offer! Just stay aware of your surroundings and if you notice anything suspicious, report it to the Metropolitan Police Service of Camden.
For more information on Camden Town, read our guide to the best places to eat and drink in Camden Town.
Other London Safety Tips
The Met Police, have put together some useful pieces of advice designed to help you protect yourself online and on social media:
• Restrict your social media posts to your friends and not public
• Check privacy settings on social networking sites and limit the amount of information you supply
• Google yourself frequently to check your digital footprint
• Don’t use the same password for everything
• Be aware of geolocation and tagging on social networking sites and ensure that it’s disabled on your smartphone
• Keep your antivirus software up to date
• Report stalking to website administrators
• If you believe that your smartphone or computer has been hacked or compromised, stop using it immediately and take it to your mobile phone provider or computer repair experts for advice.
On the phone:
• Don’t answer the phone with your address or phone number
• If the caller is not known to you, avoid answering questions about yourself, no matter how genuine they sound
• If you have an answering machine, it’s advisable not to include your name or number in the outgoing message
• Never show anger or fear over the phone: just remain calm, confident and if necessary, assertive.
London Emergency Contacts
Although London is generally a safe city, it is not crime-free. Make sure you know who to call if anything does happen:
• Use 999 for an emergency. This number is for the police, fire department, or for ambulance. However, only use this number if it really is an emergency
• For non-urgent crime call 101. This will put you in touch with your local police station
Overall, London is a safe city to live in. If you use the usual precautions as you would in any big city, your chances of being a victim of crime are generally low.
If you’re looking for a safe place to stay whilst you study in London, our student accommodation in Camden Town and Kentish Town has 24-hour security, so you can be confident that your student home will be safe and secure.
Check out our London student accommodation or get in touch for details.