Personal safety

Birmingham isn’t just where you study, it’s where you live too. It’s your home during your time with us, and home should always be a place where you feel safe and secure.

To ensure you enjoy every moment of your Birmingham experience, we’ve pulled together some of our top safety tips for when you’re out and about, or online.  

Personal safety

Be aware of your surroundings

If you’re listening to music via headphones, make sure you can still hear what’s happening around you. It’s also good to avoid walking while staring at your phone. This is especially important if you’re walking alone or in the dark.

Attend a personal safety workshop

We offer workshops packed full of practical tips and advice to help you feel safe on campus and beyond. These are free to attend and open to all students.  

Want to know what’s coming up or to organise a group workshop for a team of society you belong to? Get in touch with us at


Preferred Walking Route

The Preferred Walking Route is a collaborative initiative by the University, West Midlands Police, and the Calthorpe Estate.

Designed to make walking to and from the city safer, the route encourages you to use a dedicated footpath that goes between the Vale Village and Birmingham city centre. The footpath benefits from enhanced lighting and CCTV throughout and will be regularly maintained by our teams to keep it clear and accessible.   

Keep an eye out for the signs that mark out the dedicated route, starting on Church Road at the top of the Vale. 

Pick up a freebie

From contactless card defenders to personal attack alarms, we can provide you with the items you need to protect yourself from crime. And they’re all completely free of charge. 

Simply drop into any accommodation reception or the Community Safe Hub to pick up yours. The friendly staff at these locations can also offer you free advice, plus a safe, confidential space to ask any questions or share concerns.

Online safety

Stay safe on social media

Social media is great way to connect with the world around you, but nobody wants to share their personal information and photos with complete strangers. Make sure that only your friends and family can see your photos, updates, and information by checking your account privacy settings, and only accepting friend/contact requests from people you know.

We also recommend that you don’t share any personal information in public (e.g., phone number, address), and think twice before you join in on a meme or comment on a post.

Classic posts to avoid are ones that get you to share your ‘celebrity name’ by combining your first pet’s name with your mother’s maiden name, for example. These are a clever way to find out possible answers to your bank security answers.

Stay safe online

Whether you’re checking your bank account, doing some shopping, or replying to emails, there are a few things to look out for to keep you and your device safe:

  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep it updated.
  • Think before clinking on a link in an email – it could be a phishing scam. Do you know and trust the sender? Were you expecting to receive the email? Does the URL look legit?
  • Use strong passwords (combination of letters, numbers, and characters) and change them regularly. Make sure you have different passwords for different sites too. This helps to limit damage control if one of them is compromised
  • Only shop from secure websites. These will show a locked padlock or unbroken key in your browser, and its URL will begin with https://
  • Never give your PIN, passwords, or private banking details over the phone or online – your bank will never ask for these
  • Use web cam covers (available from the Community Safety Hub)

Advice on avoiding scams

Sometimes criminals target students and try to steal your personal information in sophisticated ways. They may pretend to be the Government, banks, the University, police, or other trusted organisations.

Don’t worry though, there are lots of tell-tale signs of a scam, plus plenty of support out there if you’re a victim of cybercrime. Find out more and stay scam savvy by visiting our dedicated ‘Advice on avoiding scams’ page.  

Travel safety


While it can be tempting to hop into the first cab you see on a night out, ignore anyone who approaches you to offer you a ride – this is illegal. Private-hire taxis, including Uber, can only legally pick you up if you’ve booked, so don’t get into one without that booking confirmation. 

Even when you do book, it’s good to be taxi smart by making sure that the car and registration number match the description the company send you.

Public transport

There’s nothing worse than missing the last bus or train home. Most services stop running after a certain time at night, so make sure you plan ahead to ensure you don’t get caught out.

 If you have a paper ticket, keep it separate from your phone and wallet. That way, you won’t get your valuables out when you show your ticket, and you’ll still be able to get home if you lose your device or wallet. 

If you feel vulnerable on a bus, we recommend sitting close to the driver. On a train? Avoid empty carriages and don’t forget that you can always move to a different seat or part of the train if you feel uncomfortable.

International travel

Whether you’re coming to study with us from abroad or are travelling overseas for an event or business trip, your safety and security is our number one priority. With international travel, there are additional layers of personal safety to think about. That’s why the University has created international travel security and safety-specific guidance to help you out. 

Nights out

Socialising with friends is a key part of the university experience for many students. No matter if you’re going out or heading to a friend’s flat for the evening, here are a few ways to ensure you have a great time from start to finish:

  • Have a plan for getting home, including if your phone runs out of charge
  • If possible, go out and return home in a group.
  • Be “drink aware” by knowing the signs of drink spiking (drink spiking kits are available from the Community Safety Hub).
  • Avoid walking home alone in secluded areas – it’s safer to get a taxi.
  • If you drink alcohol, keep track of your units and alternate your alcoholic drinks with water (trust us, your body will thank you in the morning).
  • Be part of a WhatsApp group with friends so you can communicate your location throughout the evening, just in case you become separated.

While the University does not condone the misuse of alcohol or illegal drugs, we’re here to support you if you think you or a friend might have a problem with either of these things.

International students

Living in a different country while you study is a fantastic opportunity, but it can also be a little daunting too. That’s why we’re here to support you every step of the way.

You’ll find all the contacts, advice, and information you need before you arrive and during your stay with us over on the University’s website. You’ll also receive lots of support through the Guild of Students, which runs the Global Buddies scheme to help you settle in after you arrive.

Other useful resources include the British Council and UK Council for International Student Affair’s websites.

Many things about UK culture will be different from your home country. So, it can be difficult to know what’s ‘normal’ here. These tips should help.

  • Stop and look both ways before crossing the road, and use a pedestrian crossing if you can
  • You are not expected to give money to anyone, even if they ask – you can just keep walking if someone asks you for money
  • Keep your phone in your pocket or bag when you’re out walking
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash
  • Ask officials to show their identification (eg: a ticket inspector on a bus, maintenance staff/plumber coming to fix the bathroom)
  • Never share your personal or bank details over the phone
  • If you receive a strange phone call, end the call immediately
  • Unfortunately, some criminals may pretend to be from an official organisation like the Home Office or Chinese Embassy to steal your money or personal details. If you’re contacted unexpectedly, do not give the person money and either ask to see their official identification or get in touch independently with the organisation they’re supposedly from to verify.

What to do if you are a victim of crime

The University of Birmingham is a low-crime campus, and we hope you have a safe and happy time here. If you are a victim of crime, it’s important to report it to Security Services and to the West Midlands Police. It will ensure you get access to the proper support. It also helps us to keep this community safer for everyone.

To report a non-emergency crime, eg a theft

Report it to Security Services on 0121 414 3000. You should also report it to the police: call 101, or report online.

Report a theft or burglary to the police online

To get immediate help in an emergency

Call Security Services on 0121 414 4444, and call police on 999.

Find out more about theft and crime prevention


Professional Services