Theft and crime prevention

The University of Birmingham has a very low crime rate, and is a safe place to study, live and work. However, some opportunistic thefts do occur on campus, and unfortunately student residences may be a target for thieves hoping to find many high-value items in one place.

This advice will help you to keep your home, workplace and personal property safe.

Home security

Whether you live in University accommodation, partner accommodation or a private rental, follow this advice to keep you, your property and your friends safer.

Lock your windows and doors

Local evidence from police shows that most burglars enter through unlocked back doors or windows. Talk to your housemates and agree some security rules together – don’t assume someone else will lock up! Accommodation patrols take place from time to time throughout the year to test for insecure front doors. These sometimes find an unlocked front door and no one at home – an obvious risk.

If you’re in a shared student flat, don’t prop open your front doors. This leaves you very vulnerable to unwanted visitors.

Keep valuables out of sight

Don’t leave laptops, phones, wallets etc where they can be seen from outside, eg on a desk next to the window.

Report any problems with locks and alarms

Check your locks are up to standard. If you have an alarm, test it to ensure it’s working correctly. If not, let your accommodation reception team or landlord know immediately.

Be proactive if you find strangers in your accommodation, or someone tries to follow you into a building

They might be friends of your flatmates or staff working to fix a problem, but it’s safest not to assume. A staff member will always show you their ID if they want to come into your flat. Either politely ask why they are there, or call Security on 0121 414 3000.

Plan ahead for the holidays

If your flat or house will left empty for a long period, consider buying a security timer you can attach to a lamp. This will turn a light on at intervals, and makes it look like someone is at home.

Stay informed

The University works in partnership with the Guild and local services to keep you updated.

Visit Guild advice to find out more about tenancies, deposits, your rights and responsibilities.

Visit the Community Wardens page for more information about Selly Oak.

Keeping your personal property safe

It’s important that you feel safe and secure, whether you’re studying on campus, in your workplace or walking around. These simple guidelines will help to protect you from theft.

Don’t leave valuables unattended – even for a minute

Thefts can occur in familiar places where we feel relaxed and at ease, like the library or a café. If you’re just going to use the printer or buy a coffee, it’s still an opportunity for a thief to take your laptop, phone or wallet. Take them with you or store them securely.

Back up your work, photos etc

Your property includes more than just the physical object. If your laptop is stolen, you don’t want your thesis to go with it (and it has happened!).

Be aware of your surroundings

If you’re listening to music on headphones, make sure you can still hear what’s happening around you. Avoid walking and staring at your phone.

Insure, register and track your possessions

If the worst happens and you are a victim of crime, you have a better chance of getting your property back if you’ve registered it. Many mobile phones also have a tracking facility built in.

Register valuable items for free with the UK’s national property register Immobilise.

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 personal safety


Professional Services