Staying safe at UCL
28 January 2020
On the whole, London is a safe city and we want you to enjoy your university experience here as much as possible. However, we are aware that there have been a number of reports of crimes committed recently around Bloomsbury.
As in all cities, there are steps that you can and should take to keep yourself safe. London is a great place to live, so please enjoy, have fun and take care!
1. Keep an eye out for phone snatchers
Criminals often use bikes or mopeds to snatch phones and tend to operate in areas with lots of people. Bloomsbury is a busy area with people coming from the train stations heading in and out of London, as well as many tourists and students.
Tips to prevent phone snatching:
Be aware of your surroundings when using your phone.
Try to avoid using your phone in public. If you do, use it away from the road and continually check your surroundings.
Stand away from road sides and keep your phone close to you.
When checking for messages/directions, try to stand away from roads.
Be vigilant – what’s going on around you?
Look out for bikes and mopeds, especially if there are two people on one bike or if they are riding on the pavement, riding through crowds of people or moving in the opposite direction to traffic.
Avoid taking your phone out when leaving a train or tube station.
These are hotspots for criminals as they know people often check their phones when their signal returns.
Have your phone lock on.
This way, no one can get into your phone right away.
Go ‘hands free’ when walking and talking on your phone.
If you can’t use ‘hands free’, then can you use your phone away from the road side? It will make it harder to snatch.
Register with Immobilise.
This will help Police return your phone to you and help catch the thief: www.immobilise.com
Make a note of your IMEI number so you can call your service provider if your phone is stolen
Quote your 15 digit IMEI number, you can find this by tapping in *#06# - make a note of this now (not on your phone!). When you let your service provider know your phone has been stolen with your IMEI number they will be able to isolate your phone so no one can use it.
2. Look after your valuables
Aside from phone thefts, sometimes opportunists look out for people whose valuables are on show. If you are walking in and around London, try to:
Keep your property out of sight.
Do not leave your valuables unattended.
If you are carrying a bag, make sure everything is zipped up and closed. Try to hold it close to you and in front of you.
When using a cash point, look around to check no one is close to you and the machine has not been tampered with. Cover the keypad so that no one else can see your pin number.
3. Stay vigilant. Report anything suspicious and be aware of what to do in an emergency
Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. If you do see something suspicious or out of place, please report it to the police. In addition, please be aware of what to do in the rare event of a firearms or weapon attack by watching this short video by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
4. Available support from UCL
UCL's team of expert staff in Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) provide a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space, in which you can discuss any issues that concern or affect you.
All students can access support quickly at SSW's drop-in sessions, which take place on Floor 1 of the Student Centre every day that UCL is open. No prior appointment is needed.
UCL's Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Adviser, Sophie Bimson, runs a drop-in session every Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm in the same location – you can speak to Sophie about any issues affecting you that are related to crime, safety or security. This might include theft, assault, harassment or domestic abuse. Sophie can also provide guidance on how to avoid crime and can support you if you're reporting a crime to the police. If you'd like to speak to Sophie, please come to the drop-in session desk at the location above. Like the regular drop-in sessions, no appointment is needed.
Our team also works in partnership with Care First, an independent advice and counselling service, to provide telephone and online support in the evenings and during weekends, bank holidays and UCL closure periods.