Staying safe on a night out

3 December 2020

The UCL Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Team give you their top tips on staying safe on a night out in London.

night out

London is a great city to spend an evening in and is filled with lots of places to go; restaurants, bars, clubs and theatres. The list is endless, London is always buzzing with activity as it is often very busy with a high footfall of people. However, there are some good practices to have when exploring the city, particularly at night. Follow these tips to ensure a safe night out:

Try to plan ahead

Make sure someone knows where you are going, who you are meeting and when you expect to return. Always plan how you are going to get home again.

Stay with friends

If you are socializing with a group of people, then watch out for each other and make sure everyone stays safe.

Stick to busy, well lit areas

If you are out at night, try to stick to busy streets and near other people. Avoid danger spots such as poorly-lit areas, deserted parks, or quiet alleyways.

Travel safely

Ensure you are aware of your surroundings at night. If you are on a bus at night, it may be safer to sit in the lower deck. If on the underground or train at night, try to sit with other people to avoid empty carriages. Please only take a licensed taxi or Uber. You can read more about how to tell if it is licensed here

Only take what you need

Avoid carrying huge amounts of money with you in case it is lost or stolen. Try to take the amount you think you will need.

Watch your drink

Don’t leave any drinks unattended as this may increase the possibility of your drink being spiked. Spiking is a term used that refers to when a drug or substance is added to your drink without your knowledge. Spiking can happen to both men and women. Criminals do this in order to commit a crime against you such as theft, robbery or sexual assault.

For these reasons, avoid accepting drinks from strangers. If you need to leave your drink for whatever reason, ask your friends to watch your drink. For more information about drink spiking please see this link by the NHS.

Keep an eye on your belongings

Keep your belongings hidden and keep your bag in front of you, not behind you. Many places have Chelsea clips under the tables to be able to hang your bag so use them!

Consider carrying a personal panic alarm

You can contact us, UCL Security or local police for advice on where to purchase one.

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. You can find more information about being an active bystander here (hyperlink to AB article)

Think about the risks

Remember to think about the risks before inviting someone you have just met into your room. Consent is everything, please familiarise yourself with the module which you can find here.

Sophie Bimson, UCL's Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Adviser