New research has shed light on the university zones with the lowest police crime rates, pinpointing Heavitree & Polsloe in Exeter as the safest in the U.K. 

The study, conducted by the online education platform Internet of Learning, analysed police crime data to calculate the crime rate for popular student neighbourhoods across leading universities in England and Wales. By condensing the number of crimes committed per 100 people in the past 12 months, the study could pinpoint the most crime-free areas.

Exeter, particularly Heavitree & Polsloe, is considered the safest borough, with only 4.1 reported crimes per 100 people. In the last 12 months, only 528 crimes have been documented—almost 6,000 less than Cathays, despite being 55% smaller in population. Robbery instances have been minimal, with only four reported offences and weapon possession registering only three incidents.   

In Lancaster, the Scotforth West boundary committed only 336 crimes among its population of 7,019. With 4.8 crimes per 100 people in the past year, crimes such as shoplifting saw only three offences.   

The closest following is Falmouth, which commits 4.9 crimes per 100 people. Students typically reside around Buddock Terrace, in the Arwenack & Boslowick borough, where the total population still commits 90% fewer crimes than Cathays.  

In fourth place is Chester, where Hoole falls as the area boundary for students. With 5.6 total crimes per 100 people, serious crimes such as robbery were only reported once in the past 12 months.

Bristol, with 6.0 offences, Guildford, with 6.3 offences, Winchester, with 6.4 offences, Swansea, with 6.7 offences, Sheffield, with 6.8 offences, and Leeds, with 7.0 offences, complete the rankings for the fewest crimes per 100 people. 

Manno Notermans, founder of the Internet of Learning, commented: "The countdown to September may have begun, but student safety shouldn't be an afterthought. These findings provide a valuable starting point for student research, providing crucial insights into safety variations across the UK. 

"We encourage students to research potential neighbourhoods beyond just proximity to campus, understand local crime trends, and learn safety measures. By familiarising themselves with university security resources and local police programs, students can prioritise their well-being and make informed decisions that ensure a safe and enriching university journey."

Student areas with the highest crime rates 

The area of Cathays in Cardiff has been identified as the most concerning in terms of crime rates, with an estimated 32.5 crimes occurring per 100 people. In the last 12 months, 6,495 crimes were committed, and 31% of these offences were categorised as violent or sexual assault. It has the second-highest rate of shoplifting in the study, with 1,562 cases reported in the last year. Bicycle theft is also common, with 416 reported incidents.

Sunderland ranks second in crime statistics, where students reside in the Millfield Ward, just below the city's central boundary. With an alarming 24.9 crimes per 100 people, a quarter of the population, the most prevalent offences in this area include violent and sexual assaults, anti-social behaviour, and shoplifting.  

In Central Wolverhampton, which encompasses St. Peters’ boundary, the crime rate stands at 23.3 crimes per 100 people. Here, police data suggests that one in five residents has faced prosecution for drug-related offences.  

However, North Middlesbrough leads in robbery rates with 225 offences and weapon possession at 130 offences in the last year. In this borough, 23.1 crimes are committed per 100 people.  

Durham, with 20.9 offences per 100 people, Newcastle upon Tyne, with 19.2 offences, Stoke on Trent, with 19.0 offences, York, with 18.8 offences, Ipswich, with 18.2 offences, and Bangor, with 17.0 offences per 100 residents, complete the rankings.