UCL Accommodation


Staying safe in London

21 October 2020

UCL’s Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Advisor, Sophie Bimson, gives you her top tips on staying safe in London.

Students socialising in a bar - Staying safe in London

London is a great city for students to live as it is filled with lots of places to go; restaurants, bars, street food markets and more. Even with COVID-19 restrictions firmly in place, the city stays buzzing with activity.

While you explore what London has to offer, there are some good practices to have to stay safe, particularly in the evenings. Here are some top tips:

  • Stay with friends. If you are socialising with a group of people, then watch out for each other and make sure everyone stays safe. If you are going to leave the group, be sure to make your friends aware.
  • Stick to busy, well-lit areas. If you are out in the dark, try to stick to busy streets and stay in sight of other people. Avoid danger spots such as poorly-lit areas, deserted parks, or quiet alleyways.
  • Travel safely. If you are on a bus in the evenings, it may be safer to sit in the lower deck near to the driver. If on the underground or train, try to avoid completely empty carriages. Please only take a licensed taxi or Uber. Find out how to tell if a taxi or minicab is licensed.
  • Watch your drink. Don’t leave any drinks unattended as this may increase the possibility of your drink being spiked. Spiking is a term that refers to when a drug or substance is added to your drink without your knowledge. Criminals do this in order to commit a crime against you such as theft, robbery or sexual assault. This can happen to both men and women, so it’s crucial everyone watches their drinks. To prevent such crimes, avoid accepting drinks from strangers. If you need to leave your drink for whatever reason, ask your friends to watch it for you. For more information read the Drinkaware guide on drink spiking.
  • Keep an eye on your belongings. Keep your belongings hidden and keep your bag in front of you, not behind you. Many places have clips under the tables to be able to store your bag safely.
  • Be an active bystander. If you see someone in trouble, think twice about trying to help there and then. Calling the Police or asking a security officer to help might be better depending on the situation. Read more about being an active bystander on the UCL Estates site.
  • Think about the risks before inviting someone you have just met into your room alone. Consent is everything, please familiarise yourself with the sexual consent online training module on the Student Support and Wellbeing site.
  • Make sure you keep your room door locked. It is a good habit to get into so no one can wander in by accident. It is much safer to keep your room locked all the time, especially overnight when you are sleeping.

London will be your home for the next few years, so make sure you explore the city as much as you can while adhering to any COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. London is a fantastic city with a lot to offer, but use these pieces of advice as extra measures to ensure your safety whilst out-and-about.

UCL Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Advisor