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Which university has the highest crime rate?

27th June 2014

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It might not come as much of a surprise that the universities in the areas with the country’s highest crime rates are all in London.

In fact, the 20 universities with the most crimes in the surrounding area are all found in the capital.

Respected institutions including University College London, London School of Economics and Kings College make up the top ten.

The ranking comes from the Complete University Guide, which looked at police data from between May 2013 and April this year and took into account burglary, robbery, assault, GBH and sexual offences – the crimes that are most likely to affect students.

The statistics take in all of these crimes that were committed in the vicinity of the university, and include all victims rather than just students.

The university with the highest frequency of these crimes is IFS University College, a finance school that is located within the City of London.

Kings College, which has campuses throughout the capital, has slightly fewer incidents of violent crime but has the same crime rates overall as IFS.

Prestigious institutions including the Courtauld Institute of Art are also found in the top ten, which might come as a surprise – but since the Courtauld is located within Somerset House on the Strand, the high crime rates of the West End are likely to have skewed its placing. Kings College London also has buildings on the Strand.

Manchester isn’t faring too well either – the Royal Northern College of Music has the highest crime rate of any university outside the capital, and it is followed by Manchester Metropolitan and Manchester University.

Kingston University in South London has the lowest crime rate of any university in the capital, within 15.41 crimes committed per 1,000 residents – compared to IFS’s 36.65.

Buckingham University (7.22 reported incidents per 1,000 residents) and Winchester (8.54) had the lowest local crimes rates of any universities in the country.

Dr Bernard Kingston, the author the study, said: "It is to the credit of many universities, especially those in high crime areas, that they do much to advise students on precautions they should take to avoid becoming the victims of crime.

"But many students, including those from overseas attracted by the strong academic reputations of the UK's universities, are all too often unaware of the level of crime in the areas around their chosen institutions.

"All prospective students should be able to compare the risks for individual institutions with much greater precision."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Kings College London pointed out that the university is close to major transport hubs, including King’s Cross and London Bridge stations, which are likely to have a higher number of crimes reported than elsewhere.

The spokesperson added that “London faces similar challenges to many other major cities in dealing with crime. We regularly communicate the importance of personal safety to students, through our welcome and orientation sessions, which include student safety advice from the Metropolitan Police, through leaflets and our website.

"Serious incidents involving students are an exception and we have College and Students' Union welfare teams available to provide professional support in these small number of cases, as well as strong security measures in place across all our campuses.”

The 20 UK universities with the highest crime rates, all of which are in London, are:

1.      IFS University College (36.65 per 1,000 residents)

2.      Kings College London (36.65)

3.      London South Bank University (36.13)

4.      Courtauld Institute of Art (36.07)

5.      Pearson College (35.86)

6.      City University London (35.54)

7.      London School of Economics (35.40)

8.      Birkbeck, University of London (35.23)

9.      University College London (35.21)

10.   University of the Arts (35.11)

11.   School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) (35.04)

12.   Royal Academy of Music (35.02)

13.   Westminster (34.25)

14.   London Metropolitan (34.19)

15.   Royal Veterinary College (33.96)

16.   Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (31.79)

17.   Royal College of Music (31.56)

18.   Imperial College London (31.53)

19.   Queen Mary, University of London (31.39)

20.   Heythrop College (30.11)

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