Cheltenham ranked one of safest student towns in UK
IT'S OFFICIAL – Cheltenham has been found to be one of the safest places in the UK for students.
The Complete University Guide has named the town as the safest place in terms of violent crime and ninth in the UK for the lowest overall crime rate.
The results are based on police crime statistics within three miles of the University of Gloucestershire's main campuses. Students in the town said while it was good news, most of them knew someone who had been targeted by crime, including burglaries and muggings.
Jolian Burn, 19, a psychology student, said: "I feel quite safe in Cheltenham but that's not to say there is no crime at all.
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"I have heard of some serious incidents, including a sexual assault and a mugging in the last couple of months.
"But overall Cheltenham feels like a safe place. We don't walk around worried about our safety which is good."
Students are frequently warned by police to guard their belongings against burglars.
Leaflets are dropped at student homes throughout the town warning them not to leave expensive items, such as laptops and iPods, on show.
Second year criminology student Laura Hearn, 20, said she had heard more stories of students being targeted by burglars on campus.
"You do hear of the odd horror story but I must say from my experience, Cheltenham is quite safe," she said. "One of the things I like about it is that most of our accommodation is near the town centre so we don't have to walk far at night.
"A lot of the crimes you do get, such as burglaries, happen in halls – which can be worse than living in a house off campus.
"People have parties and it's difficult to keep track of who is coming into your halls and where they are from, so you do hear of things going missing."
The study takes into account burglaries, robberies and violent crimes between June 2011 to May 2012.
Police joined university chiefs and borough council officials in hailing Cheltenham's high ranking.
Trevor Gladding, community protection team leader at the borough council, said a number of initiatives had helped to bring crime levels down.
They included a scheme to train students to security industry standards to supervise their peers on nights out.
Stewart Dove, director of student support at the university, said: "The university is delighted with the news.
"We take student welfare very seriously and we want all our students to have the best possible living, as well as learning experience."