Students walking to lectures
Walking to lectures together, Oriel College, Oxford
Copyright © John Carins Photography. This image comes from Oxford University Images - All rights reserved.

Personal safety

Oxford is generally a safe place to study and socialise in; nevertheless, it is sensible to take precautions and minimise any risks.


  • When walking around the city, try to walk in groups. If this is not possible make sure you stay aware of what is going on around you. MP3 players and phones can often be a distraction.
  • Always make sure that your phone and purse/wallet are kept out of view or carried in an inside pocket where possible.
  • Always use pre-booked licensed taxis. Before you get in, check the name of the person they have come to collect and the destination. Don't volunteer the information first.
  • When cycling, always wear a helmet and reflective clothing and ensure that your bike is fitted with lights and a bell.
  • For advice on getting home after a night out, visit nights out.

Holding on to your possessions

  • If someone is trying to snatch your bag, let it go. You may get hurt holding on to it. Try to get a description of the attacker and tell the police immediately by calling 999.
  • In most robberies, thieves attempt to steal mobile phones. Make sure you register your phone with Immobilise - this helps the police to recover your phone if it's stolen.

Carrying cash

  • Use cash machines during the daytime if possible. It is best to use a well-lit cash point. Avoid machines in dimly-lit and quiet areas.
  • Make sure that you put your card and cash away quickly – don’t keep them on display.
  • Never write down your Personal Identification Number (PIN).
  • Make sure you know your account number and sort code so that you can cancel your card quickly if it is lost or stolen.
  • Only carry enough cash to cover what you need to buy and your journey home.

Personal alarms

  • If you think you are being followed, cross the road several times if necessary and walk to a busy place (like a shop, an office, or petrol station - or if there is no alternative knock on someone's door). Call a friend or family member to come and meet you or pick you up.
  • Shout and scream as loud as you can if you're being attacked, are threatened, or at risk of being attacked. This will alert people who may be able to help. It is also likely to cause the offender to run off.
  • Consider buying a personal attack alarm to help in this sort of situation. 
  • If you regularly go jogging or cycling, try to vary your route and time. Stick to well-lit roads with pavements. If you wear a personal stereo, remember you can't hear traffic, or somebody approaching behind you.

Say no to domestic violence

  • The University regards harassment (including abuse) as unacceptable behaviour and seeks to protect its students, staff and other people for whom it has a special responsibility.
  • The University will fully investigate any reports of harassment and bring about disciplinary action where necessary. Where appropriate the University will also refer matters of harassment to the police.
  • Find out more about support services or visit the Oxford University Student Union website.
  • Stand up to condemn violence against women by signing up to the White Ribbon Campaign.

Armed attacks

You should remain alert to the danger of terrorism, but should not let the fear of terrorism stop you from going about your normal day-to-day life.  The guidance document What to do in the event of an attack has been produced to alert you, not to alarm you. In the event of an incident, you should quickly determine the best way to protect yourself. If it is possible do to so safely, exit the building or area immediately. If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the offender is less likely to find you. If it is possible to do so safely, call 999 and ask for the police.

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