The 15 Most Dangerous Areas For Students

Choosing your university or further education destination is a tough decision. It’s one that many of us spend significant time pondering over, especially with regards to our courses, our lecturers and the facilities on hand to aid in our studies.

Outside of all that, though, location is a huge determiner in the university we choose and why. Some may choose a fresh start in a new city or town, while others will pick based on its close proximity to homes and families. However, crime rates and criminal activity cast the choices we make into doubt.

At Churchill Support Services, we’ve long been committed to transparent reporting and objective reporting, especially when it comes to ensuring the continued safety of communities across the UK. You’ll see this in our regularly updated countdowns of London’s most dangerous areas, as well as our look at the safest areas in the North West.

With our latest piece, we’ll explore the most dangerous areas for students, why the risks and issues are so serious, and the places to avoid if you’re concerned about your security.

The Key Crimes That Affect Students UK-Wide

It may come as no surprise that students are among the most susceptible and vulnerable to a huge range of crimes and criminal behaviour. Indeed, with many students living in close proximity to each other in halls, student residences and neighbourhoods, there’s often a “knock-on” effect in that, when one crime occurs, a spate can trigger.

The data on crime in student communities and cities makes for grim reading, to say the least. The latest figures show that, in student communities, the rates of violent crime and theft are almost twice as high as domestic or non-student properties.

Perhaps more worryingly, theft and burglary have seen spikes across student areas, especially as small shops, bars and student properties are targeted by opportunistic thieves. Data from Manchester City Council (MCC) estimates that over 1000 student properties are burgled each year, with that only set to rise as we approach each new academic year.

In fact, the same dataset from MCC suggests that more than 1 in 10 students in the city will, over the course of their residency, be a victim of crime. That’s compounded by the city’s overall soaring rate of crime, and the closely-compacted nature of student areas.

Our data shows that MCC’s approximation (1 in 10 students will be a victim of crime) is consistent across the country, with the average crime rate for university cities sitting at 105.6 crimes per 1000 residents, or a shade above 1 crime per 10 people.

Of course, not all student cities are the same, and there are undoubtedly places that are much worse than others when it comes to instances of crime and criminal behaviour. Let’s break that down in more detail, and look at what stacks up to be the most dangerous area for students.


The Top 15 Most Dangerous Areas For Students

We’ll examine the 15 most dangerous areas for students across the UK, and look at exactly what makes those cities and towns such an unappealing prospect for both students, businesses and more permanent residents.


15. University Of Wolverhampton (Wolverhampton)

Overall Crime Rate Of 127.8 Crimes Per 1000 People

A thoroughly metropolitan city that’s often overshadowed by its larger and more renowned neighbours, Wolverhampton and its university are still exceptionally popular, hosting an estimated 22,000 students across its impressive 70+ courses. However, the city and its university earn a spot on our rankings of the most dangerous areas for students, with a crime rate of 127.8 crimes per 1000 residents.

The main issue facing students is the city’s rising rate of violent crime (15,262 offences), which has seen an 11% rise over previous years. There’s also been a similar jump in shoplifting (1554 offences), which has seen a return to pre-pandemic levels, alongside a slight rise in burglary (1799 offences) both of which signal significant concern for students.


14. University Of Leicester & De Montfort University (Leicester)

Overall Crime Rate Of 127.8 Crimes Per 1000 People

An ancient city that’s been thoroughly catapulted into the 21st Century, it’s easy to see Leicester’s appeal. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the city’s two thriving universities, which together host more than 50,000 students, alongside making major contributions to the economy. However, that reputation is tainted slightly by the city’s soaring rate of crime – 127.8 crimes per 1000 residents.

Violent crime (21,815 incidents) is the most pressing issue for the city and its residents, having seen a rise of more than 40% over previous years. There’s equally worrying numbers across drug offences (2000 incidents) and robbery (563 incidents), both of which are almost double the figures for any of the city’s surrounding areas.

Discover our complete report on Leicester’s most dangerous living areas here.


13. University Of Hull (Hull)

Overall Crime Rate Of 132.2 Crimes Per 1000 People

An industrial powerhouse turned modern bastion for the North East, Hull has thoroughly earned its reputation for the studious and hard-working, especially given its strong cohort of more than 16,000 students. However, undercutting that reputation and erudition is a crime rate that’s a cause for concern to say the least – 132.2 crimes per 1000 residents.

That’s a return to the figures we witness pre-pandemic, and concerning leap of more than 2,500 additional criminal offences in the last year alone. The chief contributor to that increase is a climbing rate of violent crime (15,517 offences), alongside similarly concerning numbers in both antisocial behaviour (4835 offences) and criminal damage (4835 offences), all of which are far above the regional average.


12. University Of Southampton & Solent University (Southampton)

Overall Crime Rate Of 134.1 Crimes Per 1000 People

A gem on the southern coast of England, Southampton offers far more beyond its coastal vistas and a thriving city centre. With an estimated student population of over 31,000 across both the city’s universities, alongside the University Of Southampton reaching 17th place on the UK’s official university rankings, you might be surprised to hear the city has a soaring crime rate of 134.1 crimes per 1000 residents.

With such a worrying figure, we naturally find more than one area of concern. Chief among these is a soaring number of violent offences (16,065 incidents), which makes up around 40% of all crime across the Southampton area. Perhaps equally concerning for students in the city is that the rates of both theft from the person (338 incidents) and weapon possession (516 incidents) are almost double the Hampshire average.


11. University Of Chichester (Chichester)

Overall Crime Rate Of 135.2 Crimes Per 1000 People

A bustling market town that’s seen a surge in its popularity since the opening of its university in 2005, Chichester is perhaps not the first on many people’s UCAS choices, but its serene Sussex surroundings have drawn in a modest 5,545 students in that time. However, while its locale is a definitive draw, its climbing crime rate of 135.2 crimes per 1000 residents is a substantial drawback.

That’s more than 23% higher than any previous year, with violent crime (1333 offences), antisocial behaviour (569 offences) and shoplifting (530 offences) all far above the regional average. One offence, however, stands out – 277 instances of bicycle theft, which is more than 5 times the region’s average.


10. University Of Lincoln & Bishop Grosseteste (Lincoln)

Overall Crime Rate Of 137.5 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of England’s quintessential university cities, Lincoln is grounded both in its history, and in its modern amenities. That blend has proved popular with its student cohort, attracting more than 18,000 studious minds across both the University of Lincoln, and Bishop Grosseteste. However, while it’s got its undoubted attractions, the city’s worrying crime rate of 137.5 crimes per 1000 residents is a cause for consternation.

Violent crime (6065 incidents) is the major issue facing the student population, especially with many of the accommodation options located in and around the city centre. There’s also equally warranted concerns for the rates of both antisocial behaviour (3171 incidents) and shoplifting (1938 incidents), both of which are significantly higher than the countywide average.


9. University Of Liverpool, Liverpool Hope, Liverpool John Moore’s (Liverpool)

Overall Crime Rate Of 140.9 Crimes Per 1000 People

A bustling hub for nightlife, arts and culture, it’s easy to see why Liverpool draws in the student crowds. Indeed, across Liverpool’s three main universities, as well as the LIPA and School of Tropical Medicine, there’s a staggering 60,000 students – one of the UK’s largest student populations outside of London. That popularity, however, has led to a soaring crime rate that sits at a decade-long high of 140.9 crimes per 1000 residents.

The main concern for Liverpool and its sizeable student proportion is a rising rate of violent and sexual crimes (33,951 incidents), especially across popular areas like Bold Street, L1 and Concert Square. That’s further compounded by equally climbing numbers across public order offences (13,049 incidents), antisocial behaviour (7370 incidents) and criminal damage (7108 incidents).


8. University Of Birmingham, Birmingham City, Birmingham Newman (Birmingham)

Overall Crime Rate Of 143.1 Crimes Per 1000 People

The UK’s second-largest city, and a major contributor to the local and national economy, Birmingham offers plenty to draw in the student crowds. Across the city’s major universities, as well as Aston University and University College Birmingham, there’s more than 72,000 students contending with the city’s shocking crime rate of 143.1 crimes per 1000 residents.

With student accommodation and amenities often being closely compacted, the city’s figures in both violent crime (76,805 offences) and vehicle crimes (16,226 offences) are naturally hugely concerning. That comes in addition to a rate of robbery (4570 offences) that’s more than 40% higher than the West Midlands average.

You can read a comprehensive breakdown of all Birmingham’s residential areas in our full report.


7. University Of Wales Trinity St. David (Carmarthen)

Overall Crime Rate Of 149.5 Crimes Per 1000 People

Nested in the valleys of Carmarthenshire, the University of Wales Trinity St. David’s campus in Carmarthen offers idyllic surroundings for the students who call it home. However, with Carmarthen having one of Wales’ worst crime rates – 149.5 crimes per 1000 residents – caution is an absolute necessity.

Violent crime (1034 incidents) is the town’s main issue, and with halls and the main campus less than a mile away from the centre, there’s a very real danger that students could find themselves part of those stats. Plus, with a rate of shoplifting (171 incidents) that’s more than twice the South Wales average, and a rate of theft from the person (26 incidents) that’s 3 and a half times higher, there’s abundant cause for concern.


6. Aberystwyth University (Aberystwyth)

Overall Crime Rate Of 155.5 Crimes Per 1000 People

A gleaming gem on the western Welsh coastline, Aberystwyth and its associated university offer stunning vistas over Cardigan Bay for the 7,845 students in and around the town and its surrounding villages. However, while sweeping horizons may paint a positive picture, the region’s crime rate of 155.5 crimes per 1000 residents is an altogether different perspective.

Aberystwyth’s main issues lie in a soaring rate of violent crime (1136 incidents), which is more than twice as high as the region’s average. There’s similarly concerning numbers across antisocial behaviour (364 incidents) and public order offences (329 incidents), both of which are set to be major concerns for any current or potential students.


5. University Of Bradford (Bradford)

Overall Crime Rate Of 159.3 Crimes Per 1000 People

Perhaps most known for its roots in industry and the fundamentals of British politics, it’ll come as no surprise that employment prospects from the University of Bradford are in the top 40 UK-wide. However, while there’s naturally greater opportunity from the uni, the city’s catastrophic crime rate of 159.3 crimes per 1000 residents is enough for many to think twice.

There’s major concerns surrounding the rates of both violent crime (26,866 offences) and criminal damage (5636 offences), which are more than 30% higher than the city’s surrounding areas. Plus, perhaps just as worrying for the student population is the substantial numbers across burglary (2002 offences), theft from the person (585 offences) and robbery (582 offences).


4. Imperial College London (Kensington & Chelsea)

Overall Crime Rate Of 163 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of the UK’s most prestigious educational establishments, and comfortably sitting in the Top 10 universities across the country, it might come as a surprise to see Imperial College London on our countdown of the most dangerous student areas. However, with Kensington and Chelsea seeing London’s second-highest rate of crime outside of Westminster (163 crimes per 1000 residents), it fully warrants its inclusion here.

Much of the concern for the borough comes from the startling numbers we see around theft (9679 incidents). We’ve already highlighted just how much of a pressing concern this is for students in particular, but with such high numbers across theft from the person (2438 incidents), burglary (1549 incidents) and robbery (689 incidents), that’s underscored even further.


3. University Of Leeds, Leeds Beckett, Leeds Trinity, Leeds Arts University (Leeds)

Overall Crime Rate Of 172.4 Crimes Per 1000 People

A true educational powerhouse for the North, the metropolitan area of Leeds is one of the UK’s most popular for university students and bright young minds. Understandably so, with a thriving nightlife and substantial investment into the city’s economy. However, with that influx of popularity comes an equally increasing crime rate – 172.4 crimes per 1000 residents – placing Leeds at number 3 on our list of the most dangerous areas for students.

Looking deeper at those statistics, we find numerous causes for concern for the city’s estimated 77,000 students. Violent crime (36,393 offences) is the most prevalent issue for Leeds and its student contingent, but it’s figures across both theft (14,579 offences) and burglary (4528 offences) that could act as a catalyst in your choice of university and area.

You can check out a full breakdown of Leeds’ residential areas in our complete guide.


2. University Of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan, RNC Of Music (Manchester)

Overall Crime Rate Of 177.1 Crimes Per 1000 People

Often designated as the UK’s “second city” after the capital, it may be a shock to see Manchester and its complement of 3 highly respected further educational facilities at number 2 on our rankings of the UK’s most dangerous areas for students. However, with Manchester’s crime hitting a record high of 177.1 crimes per 1000 residents, there’s cause for concern for the city’s complement of more than 80,000 students.

The main concern for Mancunians and students alike is the steadily climbing numbers we see across both violent crime (23,150 incidents) and theft (9648 incidents), both of which we’ve highlighted as concerns for the city’s complement of students. Plus with one of the highest rates of residential burglary (2921 incidents) we’ve seen so far, there’s a clear and present need to act.


1. Teesside University (Middlesbrough)

Overall Crime Rate Of 181.6 Crimes Per 1000 People

Officially the most dangerous area for students and residents alike, Middlesbrough (home to Teesside University and a sizeable 22,697 students) has continually seen year-on-year increases across all types of criminal behaviours. Currently sitting at a dizzying 181.6 crimes per 1000 residents, there’s a lot to consider if you’re looking to study there.

As we’ve seen with many of the locations on our countdown, violent crime (12,906 offences) is the city’s main concern, and one that’s almost double the regional average. That trend continues across many of the other worrying issues with crime, including antisocial behaviour (6580 offences), criminal damage (4749 offences), and shoplifting (2203 offences).


How We Source & Display Our Data

In the interests of clarity and open reporting, we’ll be using the latest information from official governmental sources, alongside cross-referencing these numbers with independent aggregators and sources, to give a clear overview of the most dangerous student cities and towns across the UK.

We’ll then display this as a ratio of the number of crimes per 1,000 people living in the area, including those who are in student accommodation or rented homes and apartments. This not only allows us to make the information we’ve sourced more digestible, but it means we can take into account key variables, like population and area density.

We’ve opted to break this down by city or town, in the interests of keeping our article as focused as possible. For instance, you’ll only see one statistic for the University of Leicester and De Montfort University, as both of these fall under the Leicester area, but both universities will be listed to help you make an informed decision.

Similarly, London (while not featured in our list of the most dangerous areas for students) will only have its overall crime rate associated with it, as opposed to determining the crime rate for that specific borough or region of the capital.

John Melling

Group Chief Executive Officer

John has a proven track record for motivating and leading high performance teams and has helped mentor and develop many people at Churchill who now hold key or senior positions within the business. John is committed to delivering only the finest services, exercising compelling leadership, maintaining good internal morale and striving to resolve any challenges efficiently and effectively.