Uni says ‘Durham is a very safe city’, despite 43 per cent of students not always feeling safe out walking

Durham University hasn’t said they’ll do anything about it in light of this research


A recent poll by The Tab Durham has shown that 43 per cent of Durham students say they don’t always feel safe walking around the city.

The poll was conducted after multiple cases of harassment were posted on the Facebook group Urban Angels Durham, and it includes responses from students of different years, colleges, and faculties, as well as students living in all areas of the city.

Students taking part in the poll suggested that “poor lighting” was a prominent issue, as was “holding students accountable when harassment does occur”.

Many students shared that they had been harassed near here on North Road

One student recalled “dealing with racism” on the streets, and another avoided North Road all together, saying that “you will be sexually harassed whether it’s night time or not”.

Another road that received negative attention in the poll was Tinklers Lane, which connects the residential areas Gilesgate and Claypath to the city centre. One student told The Tab Durham that Tinklers Lane “makes my journey to lectures a lot shorter”, but then suggested that they rarely use that route because it “can be a bit scary”.

Students said they avoided shortcuts like this at night

Moatside Lane, Quarryheads Lane, the river paths and the Durham School area also came under fire as areas that students did not feel safe in. These areas often have warnings posted about them on Urban Angels, with incidents often being recorded.

Durham alumna Bella Smith founded the Durham branch of the Urban Angels online community in June 2021, after hearing a series of stories of women being harassed and attacked in Durham. Bella says Urban Angels offers members “a safe space to share experiences, alert others of anything unsafe or suspicious within the area, and generate ideas of how to make the locality safer”.

There are also initiatives such as walking groups from nights out and college bar shifts, and an on-going liaison with nightclubs and bars that looks into how venues can be made safer for students.

Regarding the impact of Urban Angels, Bella says: “This positive change is really important, but as recent events in nightclubs have highlighted – we still have a long way to go”.

Upon being contacted for a statement, Durham University directed us to the Student Safety page and declined to provide further comment.

On the Student Safety page, the university claims that “Durham is a relatively safe city” and that the university “take[s] the wellbeing and safety of [its] community seriously”.

However, the university did not suggest that any new measures would be implemented in light of this research by The Tab Durham.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• ‘You better have a rape alarm on you’: Police investigating Jimmy’s bouncer for sexually harassing student

• Durham SU forced to apologise after making ASMR video about its student food bank

The housing crisis is ‘pushing working class students out of the city’, says Durham student