London can be a safe place to study, provided that you take steps to prevent or deter crime. This page offers some important tips for staying safe during your studies.
LSE Security is here to help students have an enjoyable and productive experience at LSE in respect of their safety and security. Security can provide a great deal of practical advice on how to get the most from your time at LSE without becoming the victim of crime. Whether your enquiry is about how to ensure your bicycle is not stolen or security for a major event that you have organised, LSE Security are here to advise and support.
Rather than deal with the consequences, Security would always prefer that crime be prevented or deterred. All crime involves an element of preparation or planning by the criminal. Often this preparation can be identified through knowledge of our surroundings and the behaviour that we observe in others. Sometimes we know why we think something is suspicious, other times we just have a 'feeling' that something is not right. We would encourage you to report anything that gives you cause for concern . Security staff will never complain or belittle you if you report a suspicion. LSE Security will always seek to investigate and address suspicious activity in a way that reassures those acting legitimately, but deters people who are intending to commit crime.
Many crimes have been prevented because someone has a 'hunch' or a feeling. You are the people who are most familiar with your living and working environment. Listen to your instincts and act on them.
The School is one of the few institutions in central London to maintain an open campus policy. This means that throughout the day many School buildings are open. This provides a free and collegiate atmosphere that many in the School enjoy. We are keen that you enjoy this atmosphere, but always bear in mind that the School is a public place. If you would not leave your laptop unattended on a park bench you should not leave it unattended in the Library, the Garrick or any other public area of the School.
Avoid using the cycle racks on the streets throughout the campus, they are regularly targeted by thieves. Instead put your bike in the secure cycle storage facilities in the NAB and the basement of the Towers.
Always lock your bike, even if leaving it for just a few minutes. Hardened steel D-shaped locks or a gold rated "Soldsecure" endorsed padlock and chain are recommended. See www.soldsecure.com.
Take a note of your bike's serial number (found on the underside of your bike frame) in case of crime.
Take advantage of free bike security marking by the police, and mechanical checks during LSE Bike Weeks.
General use lockers are located in the basement of Old Building. Some are £1 operated (RED) and others are available for longer term hire in B.27. You will require a padlock (of a minimum 6.3mm in diameter) to secure the locker.
Do not put valuable items into these lockers, particularly wallets, purses and laptops.
A little help from your friends
Stay with friends, especially when walking at night or stopping to get money from a cash machine.
It's always best to decide where you are going and how you and you and your friends will get there in advance.
You should never leave drinks unattended in pubs or clubs.
Avoid walking alone after dark
Keep to main streets and busy well-lit areas, avoid shortcuts and try to look confident even if you don't feel it. You might consider carrying a personal alarm with you at the ready as well. If you think you are being followed, cross the road – more than once if necessary – to see if they follow. If you are still worried, go to the nearest place where there are other people – a pub or anywhere with lights on – and call the police.
It's a good idea to have your house keys ready before you reach your door. When you're looking for them in a bag, you may not be paying as much attention to what is going on around you.
Don't forget that if you are listening to music on a portable player or on the phone, you may become less aware of your surroundings.
When on campus, use the cash machines situated inside the NatWest bank on the corner of Houghton Street and Aldwych, or the Santander Bank on Portugal Street.
Distraction thefts are common at London cash points. If anyone approaches you when you are using a cash machine do not be distracted; immediately cancel your transaction, remove your card and walk away.
Protect your personal belongings
Carry your bag close to you
Keep your bag's fastening next to your body. However, if someone tries to get it, let it go. Phones and wallets are replaceable, but you are not!
If you've got it, don't flaunt it
Thieves are on the look-out for people who carry mobiles, laptops, MP3s, digital cameras and jewellery, so keep your valuables out of sight. Use a rucksack to carry your laptop, as a laptop case is an obvious indicator that you are carrying something valuable. Keep bags closed, zipped up and buckled.
Do not leave your laptop unattended in any location on campus – even for a moment. There is a Laptop Secure Storage Area in the Old Building, room OLD G.15. For more information please enquire at the Old Building reception.
LSE Security offer FREE DNA laptop marking. This is a proven deterrent against any would-be thief. You can also use tracking software on your Laptop. There are free applications that you can download from the internet. We recommend Prey Project.
As many as 10,000 mobile phones are stolen every month in the UK. Try not to attract attention to your mobile phone when you are carrying it or using it in a public space.
In case of theft, you can register your mobile phone at Immobilise, the national property register.
You can also make a record of your phone details, as well as consider separate insurance. Two things in particular to note are your phone's ESN (Electronic Serial Number) and IMEI number (a 15 digit unique identifier for your phone, which you can find by typing *#06# into your phone).
Lock it up
Always lock your doors and windows at home, even if you're only stepping out for a moment. Never assume someone else will do it for you.
Take the time to make a list of your personal property, including descriptions and serial numbers as appropriate. You may choose to use an ultraviolet pen to mark your contact details so that police can trace stolen property.
Use bus stops that you know, and that are busy and well-lit and sit close to the driver.
On trains or the underground, wait near other people on well-lit portions of the platform. If you ever feel uncomfortable, consider changing carriages or getting off the train entirely.
London black cabs are a reliable way to travel 24 hours a day in London. Taxi's that are not black cabs are called mini-cabs and may be less expensive, however, it is extremely important that for your safety you never accept a ride on the street from a mini-cab. Mini cabs should only be booked in advance through a licensed cab company. Details on finding a licensed mini-cab can be found by visiting TfL's Cabwise.
Your user account is a very important part of your LSE identity! Follow these steps to protect your user account and information:
Set a secure password to ensure that only you can access your account. Your should change your password the first time you log in. For guidance on selecting a secure password visit Information Security.
Do not share your login details with anyone else. IT Services staff will never ask you for your password.
If you forget your password visit the IT Help Desk and bring your LSE ID card with you. Students who have set up security questions can reset their password at any time.
By accessing and/or using LSE IT facilities (including the network using your own device), you agree to be bound by the Conditions of Use of IT Facilities at LSE, and you agree to adhere to the requirements of all statutory regulations and provisions.
Beware of scam emails, which often ask you for personal details, may be threatening or offering something too good to be true, come from an unusual email address, and often contain spelling mistakes. If you get something that might be a scam, or you are unsure, please contact IT Services. To protect yourself from scams, never reply to these emails (even to tell them that you know they are a scam - It only means you'll get more spam) and never give your password to anyone by email.
Keep your computer protected with up to date antivirus software: LSE provides Sophos for free.
When posting messages, photos, video clips, and other content on Facebook, Twitter, or other places online, it is wise to think about the consequences.
Don't say anything that could land you in trouble
Be careful what you say:
Do not defame
Do not harass or bully
Do not post anything illegal
Consider reputational risk (to you, your friends and/or family, and to the School)
Protect your online identity
Don't reveal data about you that:
could be used to impersonate you/steal your identity (date and place of birth, for example)
might reveal your actual whereabouts or when you're not somewhere (at home, for example) - so think about who you share your location with
that might cost you money (look out for scams and freebies; anything that looks too good to be true, usually is!)
History haunts - especially on Facebook
Data cannot easily be deleted, especially when shared. Only ever post things that you would be happy to be made public. Be wary of potential employers looking you up online and what they might find.
What might seem anonymous usually isn't
Your use can be tracked, even if you think you have an anonymous user account.
Conditions of Use of IT Facilities at LSE
Anything you do at LSE (including your own laptop or mobile connected to the School's WiFi network) must comply with the Conditions of Use of IT Facilities at LSE and there may be consequences for breach of these.
Other useful tips
The British Council offers a brochure containing tips on how to make sure that your time in the UK is safe and enjoyable.