The North East is one of the safest places in the country for students, a new report has revealed.
It was compiled from official police data giving the crime rates for the communities surrounding almost 140 universities and other higher education institutions in England and Wales.
While there are no figures for crimes directly involving students, the report, published by the TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk, selected three crimes – burglary, robbery and violence and sexual offences – as of particular relevance to students.
It then ranked each university and institution on the number of these crimes committed over the last 12 months which occurred within three miles of the main campus of each. The findings showed this region has the lowest rates of student-relevant crime of any region in England and Wales – barely half that of London.
Durham University’s immediate surroundings are the safest in the North East – and among the five least affected by crime in England and Wales outside London.
Research showed there was a total of 9.5 of these types of crimes were committed per 1,000 residents.
Professor Tom Ward, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) at Durham University said: “Everyone in this beautiful city will be pleased about this confirmation that Durham City is such a safe place for all its residents.
“We make great efforts to work with our students and partners in the city to maintain this safe and friendly environment.”
For Sunderland, the figure was 12.15; Newcastle 15.11; and Northumbria 15.49. In contrast, the three-mile radius around Teesside University’s Middlesbrough campus has the highest incidence in the region of 22.28 and is in the bottom 20 in England and Wales.
King’s College London University, South Bank University and the Courtauld Institute fare worst, while overall crime rates in the capital are more than a fifth higher than in the rest of England and Wales.
Outside London, the independent University of Buckingham and Winchester University emerged with the lowest cumulative rates for the three categories of offence. Three Manchester institutions – Manchester University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Royal Northern College of Music – were among those with the highest crime rates in their neighbourhoods.
Dr Bernard Kingston, principal author of TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk, 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.
“Working with local police and others, including student unions, they are continually seeking to improve their students’ safety through a number of measures including late night buses and advice sessions.
“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.”
Dr Kingston criticised universities for being “either unable or not willing to disclose the rates of crime directly affecting their students on and off campus”.
He added: “In many cases the universities themselves will not know of crimes involving their students off campus.
“In the absence of these data, this survey offers the best available guide. But it is of course only a guide and we look forward to the universities taking responsibility for informing prospective students of crime levels on and off campus.”