London Safety Guide
Starting university is an exciting time. You’ll be finding your independence for the first time as you move out from your parent’s house. If you’re studying in London it’s only natural to wonder how safe this big city is. It’s a tourist hotspot which is crowded and fast-paced. Like anywhere, there are risks, no where is 100% safe. In this guide, we’ll go through how safe London is and a few tips for staying safe in the UK capital.
How Safe Is London?
On the whole, London is considered a safe city. Although there are certain areas that should be avoided, London is as safe as other popular European cities. Even for women, the risk is considered low.
As London is a tourist hot-spot, the biggest risks are related to travel. Pickpocketing is the most common form of street crime in London. This is most likely to happen around popular landmarks. Scams are also a risk around tourist spots.
Another risk is mugging. This is only really a risk in dangerous areas which you should be avoiding anyway.
London Crime Rate
London does have a higher crime rate than the rest of the UK, but that is generally expected of a popular capital city. When compared to other European cities, the UK capital is average for crime.
Although the crime rate in London has been increasing, it is still a relatively safe city. In fact, according to the Economists Safe Cities Index, London is the fourteenth safest city in the world. In 2019/20 the London crime rate was 101.48 crimes per thousand people.
Over the past few years, robberies by gangs on mopeds have been increasing. These have mainly been snatch-and-grab thefts, and not highly violent.
Safest Areas In London
London is a varied and big city. As such, there are some areas that have a much lower crime rate than the average for the city. Most of these areas are a little out of the central area, but with London’s great transport network it’s still easy to get around the city. According to Movebubble, the safest areas in London are:
- Richmond – Crime rate 54 crimes per 1,000 people
- Bexley – Crime rate 56 per 1,000 people
- Kingston-upon-Thames – Crime rate 57 crimes per 1,000 people
- Sutton – Crime rate 57 crimes per 1,000 people
- Harrow – Crime rate 63 crimes per 1,000 people
Most Dangerous Areas In London
As well as there being areas with much lower crime rates than the rest of London, there are also areas that have a higher crime rate. Many of the areas that are the most dangerous are popular with tourists or densely populated. According to Churchill Security, the most dangerous areas in London are:
- Westminster – Crime rate 321.4 crimes per 1,000 people
- Camden – Crime rate 154.2 crimes per 1,000 people
- Kensington and Chelsea – Crime rate 153.9 crimes per 1,000 people
- Hammersmith and Fulham – Crime rate 129.2 crimes per 1,000 people
- Islington – Crime rate 125.6 crimes per 1,000 people<.li>
Staying Safe In London
When it comes to staying safe in London, the best advice is to just be cautious and use your common sense. If something doesn’t feel right, walk away. Be aware of distraction tactics and stay away from empty streets and alleys. Just stick to the usual precautions you would in any large city.
London Safety Tips
Although London is generally safe, there are ways to reduce your risk. This includes:
- When travelling, plan your route before you leave
- Always be aware of your surroundings
- Avoid dark alleys and back streets
- Don’t wear headphones, these reduce your awareness
- Only use registered taxis
- Keep an eye on your belongings at all times and never leave them unattended
- Make sure valuables are secure in a zipped pocket or bag
- Don’t carry a lot of cash
- Stay in regular contact with friends and family, and let people know if you are going out and when you plan to be back
- Keep valuables and bags close to your body in crowded areas
- When drawing out money, make sure no one is looking over your shoulder
Being a student, you will likely be out and about quite late. Here are some extra tips for staying safe in London at night:
- Avoid walking alone at night
- If you’re out in the dark, keep to main roads with lots of light
- Don’t accept drinks from strangers
- Agree with your friends that you’ll let each other know when you get home safely
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 an 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. As long as you use the usual precautions 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 has 24-hour security, so you can be confident that your student home will be safe and secure. Take a look at our London student accommodation or get in touch for details.