It’s official: These are the most dangerous uni areas to live in across the country

I wake up every morning grateful I’m not a York student

When choosing which university to attend, or where your off-campus accommodation is going to be, safety isn’t often high on the list of factors you consider. Instead, en-suites and distance from the SU nightclub take precedence. Yet, nobody wants to live in an area where by week four you’ll have had at least half of your valuables stolen, so it really should be.

To save you trawling through the internet trying to work out the likelihood of you returning home at the end of the year with all of your possessions (and your faith in humanity) still intact, we have collated statistics regarding general crime, sexual assault and antisocial behaviour in all of the major England, Wales, and Northern Ireland university cities (information on Greater Manchester and Scotland were unobtainable).

We’ve worked out all the most popular student areas to live in across the country and compared their crime stats using data from Police UK. Below is a graph mapping out the areas with the highest number of crimes to the lowest number of crimes between May 2021 and April 2022:

Overall, Smithdown in Liverpool has the highest figure over the 12 months, with 31,756 crimes reported, averaging to 2,646 crimes per month. Contrasting this, Lancaster students are sleeping a lot more soundly, as popular student area, Bowerham, had only 513 crimes reported across the 12 months, averaging 43 crimes per month.

Your average Tuesday night in Smithdown

This year’s results differ from those found in 2020, when we measured the crime rate and found Southampton had the highest crime rate, and Belfast had the lowest.

York students are also staring in the eyes of danger, as student hub Tang Hall has the second highest annual number of crimes, with 20,502 crimes over the past year, which works out as 1,709 crimes per month. Meanwhile those living in St. James in Exeter don’t have a worry in the world, as this area sits similarly to Lancaster with 779 reports over the year, averaging only 65 crimes per month.

When analysing the figures, it stood out that violence and sexual offences and antisocial behaviour were categorically the highest reported crimes across all major university cities.

Liverpool’s Smithdown had nearly double the number of violence and sexual offence reports than Tang Hall in York, with 10,951 across the year (913 per month), compared to 6,304 (525 per month). However, Tang Hall has more reports of antisocial behaviour than Smithdown, with 6,155 counts (513 per month) in comparison to Smithdown’s 3,204 (267 per month).

Belfast’s student centre, Holylands, has moved from the city with the lowest crime rate when measured in 2020 to the city with the third highest number of crimes. In the last year, Holylands received 4,690 reports of violence of sexual offences (391 per month) and 6,226 counts of antisocial behaviour (519 per month).

On the other end of the spectrum, Bowerham in Lancaster received 155 counts of violence and sexual offences, and 174 counts of antisocial behaviour. The second lowest area, St James in Exeter, had 255 counts of violence and sexual offences, and 219 counts of antisocial behaviour. Averaging out, both of these communities had less than 20 reports of each crime per month.

Across the last year and between all 16 student areas we analysed, there were a whopping 133,920 crimes reported.

There was a total of 44,322 accounts of violence and sexual offences reported across these areas.

In terms of antisocial behaviour, there were 25,701 accounts reported, averaging 1,606. This rate is closest to Hyde Park’s 1,612 reports over the 12-months, making Leeds the middle ground.

Overall, if you’re really struggling to decide between going to York or Lancaster and really can’t make your mind up, safety could be the deciding factor. Or, if you’re already at Liverpool Uni but haven’t found a house for next year yet, maybe just avoid Smithdown.

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