The University of Sussex is one of the worst universities for crime in the south-east of England, according to a recent survey.
Despite placing within the top 50 safest universities in England and Wales, Sussex ranks 12th out of 17 universities in the region with 22.98 crimes reported per 1,000 students. Nearby Brighton placed last in the region, ranking 70th nationally, with 27.15 crimes per 1,000 students.
Sussex and Brighton fare particularly poorly in terms of violence and sexual offences, with 17.18 and 20.78 cases per 1,000 students reported.
The survey, compiled by The Complete University Guide, used data from police.uk between May 2014 and April 2015 to calculate the number of reported crimes overall and specifically in areas such as burglary, robbery and violent and sexual offences.
Buckingham topped the survey with only 8.58 crimes reported per 1,000, compared with Kings College London, which came last, with 47.65 per 1,000.
The survey also found that The Lanes and West Street in Brighton is one of the worst places for crime in the country, alongside areas such as London’s Soho, Croydon and parts of Manchester.
Abraham Baldry, President of the Students’ Union, defended the safety of the campus, saying: “Brighton is generally a safe place to be a student, and the fact that we are ranked in the top 50 safest universities in the UK is cause for celebration.”
He also added that the Union has implemented measures to tackle crime on and off campus: “We know that some issues, such as sexual violence and general safety, affect our students, though not disproportionately to other universities.
“We run a number of campaigns and projects to address these issues and we have been working to educate students about what constitutes sexual violence and harassment.”
Baldry also criticised the methods used by the Complete University Guide in compiling their survey, adding: “Official data for crime specifically against students is not available, and the report states that because they are based on resident populations and therefore take no account of short-stay visitors and commenters, the figures may over-represent crime levels.”
In a statement, a University spokesperson said: “As has been the case in the past, the relevance of the statistics presented by these rankings is questionable.
“The crime tables comprise data within wards or electoral divisions within three miles of the main university or college campus.
“This puts the University of Sussex within the edge of the city centre, whilst at the same time covering over more densely populated parts of the city.”
They added: “The University takes safety extremely seriously. We have an extensive range of security measures in place, including 24 hour security patrols, a network of CCTV cameras, emergency phones, free personal alarms, a lone-person ‘walk home’ service and in some of the modern halls, we have installed access control.
“We also work closely with Sussex Police to reduce crime on campus and to provide support and advice to students who are victims.”
By Daniel Green