It’s official: These are the most dangerous Russell Group student areas you can live in

Not a great day to be a Cardiff student

You slate your student area for being overrun by rats, being an absolute TREK from uni and for being literally impossible to secure a house in unless you start looking in September, but is safety something you consider when you sign that pesky contract and force your mum to be your guarantor? Because there is nothing worse than feeling unsafe in your student area. And how can you tell how safe your area is?

Well, online education platform Internet of Learning analysed police crime data to work out the crime rate for popular student areas at Russell Group unis. It looks at the number of crimes committed per 100 people in the last 12 months to work out the most dangerous student areas

So, here’s hoping yours doesn’t make the list because these are officially the most dangerous Russell Group student areas in 2024:

10. University of Southampton – Portswood

It might be known for its rats, but the University of Southampton’s main student area Portswood is also the 10th most dangerous Russell Group student area you can live in. It has an average of 8.3 crimes committed per 100 people.

9. University of Liverpool – Smithdown

Russell Group dangerous

At number nine is Smithdown in Liverpool where an average of 9.7 crimes occur for every 100 people that live in the area.

8. University of Oxford – Oxford Cowley

At the University of Oxford, the most dangerous student area you can live in is Oxford Cowley. This area is the eighth most dangerous student area of all the Russell Groups. It has an average of 10 crimes per 100 people.

7. University of Warwick – Warwick Central

The seventh least safe Russell Group student area is Warwick Central. This University of Warwick student area has an average crime rate of 10.3 per 100 people.

6. University of Nottingham – Dunkirk and Lenton

At Notts, Dunkirk and Lenton are the most dangerous student areas, and the sixth most dangerous of all the Russell Groups. Per 100 people that live there, there are 10.8 crimes committed.

5. University of Cambridge – South and East Cambridge

Okay, this one definitely was not expected, but the University of Cambridge student areas of South and East Cambridge are apparently the fifth least safe place you can live as a student. There are 11.6 crimes committed per 100 people.

4. University of York – Outer York

Russell Group dangerous

Another slightly rogue one given that York has a majorly boring reputation, Outer York is the fourth most dangerous Russell Group student area. In Outer York there are 18.8 crimes committed per every 100 people.

3. Newcastle University – Byker and Walker

In third is Newcastle University where student area Byker and Walker has an average of 19.2 crimes committed per 100 residents.

2. Durham University – Durham City

One of the only rankings Durham University will beat Oxford and Cambridge in, Durham City is the second most dangerous Russell Group student area. It has an average of 20.9 crimes committed per 100 people in the area.

1. Cardiff University – Cathays

And officially the least safe Russell Group student area is Cathays in Cardiff. Cathays has an average of 32.5 crimes occurring per 100 people and in the last year, 6,495 were committed, with 31 per cent of these being categorised as violent crimes. It also has the second-highest rate of shoplifting in the study, with 1,562 cases reported in the last year. Bike theft is also common, with 416 reported incidents. Yikes.

A Cardiff University spokesperson said: “The safety and wellbeing of our students is paramount, and we ensure every effort is taken to keep them safe. That’s why it’s important that these figures are put into context and to stress that they relate to acts committed in the University’s immediate location of Cathays. Such crimes may not be against or involve students therefore any suggestion that the University has a specific issue with violence or sexual assaults would be extremely misleading, irresponsible and could cause unnecessary alarm.

“Cardiff is Wales’s capital city, the largest city in Wales and one of the largest cities in the UK. The University is physically based in the city centre near to one of Europe’s most thriving night-time economies. The city also plays host to some of the UK’s biggest sporting and music events, attracting thousands of visitors. Therefore, there is no fair comparison between Cathays and other parts of the city or other parts of Wales.

“However, we are not complacent and recognise that acts of violence and sexual assaults do occur. That’s why we have developed a proactive, University-wide approach to addressing these issues, which acknowledges the prevalence of violence and abuse in society. We work in close partnership with Cardiff University Students’ Union and other key community partners including Cardiff Council and South Wales Police and have developed key initiatives designed to help safeguard students’ personal safety at night. These are available to Cardiff University students. They are directly communicated and outlined on our student intranet.

“Initiatives include the Safe Taxi Scheme to help students get home safely on nights out and the Student Safety Walk project which supports students who may feel uncomfortable getting home alone late at night. Volunteers offer a walking service to students on selected evenings, providing security, advice, and referrals to other services such as the Safety Bus and Safe Taxi Scheme.

“We also have tight safety measures in place at all our halls of residences and University buildings. We have dedicated 24-hour security with CCTV coverage of the majority of our University buildings. Free personal safety alarms are also available from our security team and the University has also invested in the SafeZone safety app. The app is a quick and easy way to alert University security or South Wales Police when help or assistance is needed. When students are on campus, SafeZone can show you where you are on a map. It also allows students to communicate with our security officers via text message.

“As part of our response to incidents of violence, we have introduced an online disclosure tool so that students can disclose their experiences. This allows a student to identify themselves or remain anonymous if that is their wish.

“Students making an identified disclosure receive practical advice and support from a team of trained Disclosure Response Advisors who can help to manage immediate or ongoing safety concerns; listen and talk directly to students outlining options available for both specialist support and reporting; and provide practical advice on housing, finance, or studies. They can also prioritise appointments for students who have experienced an incident of violence and/or abuse in the past 72 hours and may wish to preserve forensic evidence. Students disclosing anonymously help us form a clearer picture of the problems that universities – as a microcosm of wider society – face.”

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