When some students first think about studying abroad, one of the major concerns when searching for accommodation, particularly in London, is about safety. London has a mostly undeserved reputation for being a little unsafe, but in reality, the city is no more dangerous than any other European capital and is considerably safer than some. However, as with any other city, there are certain things you ought to know if you are to stay safe in London throughout your stay here. Take a look at our London safety advice and ensure that you keep out of trouble for the duration of your studies.
Plan a way home
London is a very simple city to navigate during the day, thanks to the simple and effective tube network. Night times, however, can be a very different story. The majority of London’s underground stations close between midnight and 12.30 at night, and if you haven’t planned a way home after a night out, you could find yourself stuck in an unfamiliar part of town.
Ever heard the expression safety in numbers? Well, it applies when you’re out and about, too. London is not a dangerous city but muggings do occasionally occur, and you’re far less likely to become a victim if you’re in a group. Stick together, particularly on nights out, and let one another know once you’ve gotten home safely.
Always book a taxi
While in other parts of the world it is perfectly acceptable to hail a minicab, the same action is not always to be recommended here in London. You can hail a black cab while you’re out on the street, but you should only get in a minicab if you’ve booked it over the phone or caught it from a registered city centre taxi rank. If you download the free Hailo app then a black cab is only ever two taps away! The night bus is a cheap way to get home after hours, but it’s better to ride it with friends than on your own. Always plan your route and work out which bus you need before leaving home. If a journey involves two buses or more, splash out on a cab and get home twice as quick.
Keep valuables out of sight
Just like any major city, pick-pocketing can be a problem in central London, as can phone-snatching. In order to keep your valuables safe, make sure that they remain out of sight at all times. Try to keep valuables in inner pockets where thieves can’t get to them. If you do have something valuable on you, try not to keep touching it to check if it’s there; a thief with a keen eye will spot this behaviour and recognise it as the tell-tale sign of where your valuables are.
Avoid walking home alone
You’re unlikely to be the victim of a crime if you stay out of the way of criminals, and a good way to do so is to avoid walking home alone. Try to use public transport when you venture further afield and avoid walking home alone, particularly through the parks and commons at night. Hopefully you should never be a victim of crime during your time in London, but you can’t be too careful. The NUS website can provide more information on how to stay safe around London.