Generally the University and Birmingham are relatively safe, but as with any highly populated area it is important that you are aware of the potential for crime and that you take your personal safety seriously. This does not mean you have to lock yourself away or be afraid to go out but it is worth thinking about how you can reduce your chances of being a victim, whether you are at home, or out and about.
Click the links below for useful information and tips...
1 in 3 students become a victim of crime each year
Although Birmingham as a city, and our campus, are both relatively safe places, it is unsurprising that students as a group are a prime target for criminals - you own more valuable consumer goods than the rest of the population, and are more likely to be out on a regular basis after dark! The following tips outline how you can reduce your vulnerability and ensure your first year at university is unforgettable for the right reasons.

Walking home day or night

  • Walk home before it gets dark if possible?
  • If you are walking home at night, stick to well lit, busy areas
  • Carry a personal safety alarm (You can pick up a free personal safety alarm at the Mentor Welfare Office based in Shackleton on the Vale)
  • Let your flatmates know an approximate time you’ll be home.
  • Walk home alone
  • Walk alongside the canal (which runs from the Vale to uni station) at night
  • Get into a stranger’s car for any reason
  • Leave your friends on a night out and walk home – always use a taxi
Worst Case Scenario – if you think you are being followed
  • Cross the road
  • Go into a nearby shop or pub
  • Ring a friend and tell them exactly where you are
  • Make a real, or fake, phonecall saying something like “I’ll see you in a minute, I’m just round the corner from you. It’ll be brilliant to see everyone. Have you got the dogs with you?” Scripts like this might sound strange, but if a potential attacker overhears this they might change their plans?
  • Don’t go into phone booths to make a call – it will only box you in

Drink spiking

  • Cover the top of bottles with your thumb/a spikey
  • Go with someone to the bar if they buy you a drink
  • Buy a new drink if you have any suspicions at all that it may have been spiked – it’s worth the extra money!
  • Ever leave drinks unattended
  • Minesweep (drink other people’s unattended drinks)
  • Leave your drink with someone you don’t know
How to know if you have had your drink spiked
People often confuse being drunk with having their drink spiked, but it is more dangerous if it is the other way around. There are some warning signs which differentiate drunkenness from having had your drink spiked –
  • Feeling ill, drowsy, disorientated or confused, but much more suddenly than if you’d just been drinking alcohol normally
  • Passing out
  • Having a loss of control of your limbs and finding it hard to talk (not just slurring)
  • Waking up the next day feeling uncomfortable and/or not remembering entire sections of the night before
  • Non alcoholic drinks can be spiked too
  • Drink spiking can happen to men as well as women
  • Spiking drugs often can’t be tasted or smelled
Worst Case Scenarioif you think you, or a friend, has been a victim of drink spiking
  • Go to a safe place and tell a trusted family member or friend immediately
  • Call 999 and ask for an ambulance – some drugs only stay in the body for a very short amount of time, so it is important that you get medical assistance as soon as possible?  


Using taxis

  • Pre-book a taxi instead of getting into unmarked or private taxis, especially on nights out. Only old style black cabs are legally allowed to pick you up without a prior booking.
  • Check the price before entering a taxi. Reasonable fares are as follows (although this is only approximate and may differ slightly between firms):
Route Guild to Broad Street The Vale to Broad Street
Single £5
Group £8 £7
  • Tell taxi drivers if your flat is empty that night when you go out, always say there is someone at home even if there isn’t
  • Get In unmarked or private taxis
  • Get in a taxi if there is not enough seats for your group; not only is it unsafe, it means the taxi isn’t insured in the event of an accident


  • Get your money out of a cashpoint during the day before a night out
  • Spread your valuables around your body i.e. your phone in your bag, your house keys in your trouser pocket, your money in your jacket etc.
  • Keep your things beside you not behind you if you are a wheelchair user
  • Mark valuable personal items with a UV pen stating your surname, city and ID number – police can then track stolen items and return them to you, even if they are taken to a different part of the country. (You can get this done for you at the Mentor Welfare Office based in Shackleton on the Vale).
  • Use the standard Apple earphones provided with an iPod whilst you are walking home – they automatically advertise its worth. Buy black ones to swap them with
  • Carry your laptop in a laptop bag when walking home – try to carry it in something which is less distinctive, for instance a shopping bag or a rucksack
  • Ring someone if you are walking home at night. Although this may provide you with personal reassurance, ironically it may increase your chances of being mugged for your phone
Worst Case Scenario – if you are mugged or attacked
  • If someone tries to take something from you, in most cases it is easier and safer to let them have it than to get into a confrontation
  • You are legally allowed to use reasonable force as a form of self defence. You are also allowed to protect yourself with items you were carrying anyway e.g keys or a can of deodorant.
  • However, you can’t carry a weapon (including mace spray)
  • Be aware that your attacker may be stronger than you – it is often best to shout and run away You are more likely to get help from members of the public if you shout ‘Fire!’ instead of ‘Help!’

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