The University of St Andrews has a claim to being one of the safest universities in the UK, Saint analysis has revealed.
Examination of statistics for burglary, robbery and violent crime those offences most likely to affect students showed that an average of 1.5 crimes of this nature were recorded per 1,000 residents in St Andrews between May 2012 and April 2013.
A ranking of 119 universities in England and Wales using similar statistics was carried out by the Complete University Guide earlier this year. It found that the safest university was Aberystwyth, with 0.47 crimes per 1,000 residents. St Andrews’ total of 1.5 would put it 1st in the table, between Sunderland and Chester.
The results are not precisely comparable, however, as crime in Scotland is recorded differently from England and Wales. The Saint used data for the whole of St Andrews over the period whereas the Complete University Guide used only crime recorded in wards or electoral divisions that fell within a three-mile radius of the main university campus in each case. This means that the University of St Andrews may actually be safer than calculated.
In total 17 burglaries- recorded in Scotland as housebreakings and defined as offences where a person enters a dwelling with the intention of stealing- were reported in St Andrews over the year long period, equating to 1.01 per 1,000 residents. This would be the 5th highest rate of burglary in the table, equal to Greenwich and higher than Nottingham, despite St Andrews’ reputation for being a peaceful seaside town. 17 of the 4 universities with higher burglary rates than St Andrews were in London.
Four recorded incidents of violent crime – called serious assault in Scotland – gave a figure of 0.4 per 1,000 residents. Only the Royal Agricultural University in Gloucestershire recorded a lower rate of violent crime, at 0.1 incidents per 1,000 residents. Violent crime is defined as an “offence against the person,” such as common assaults, grievous bodily harm and sexual offences.
No robberies were recorded in St Andrews during the period, the same as 13 other universities. A robbery differs from a burglary in that a robber uses force or threat of force to steal.
Comparable data for other Scottish universities was not available, but a separate Complete University Guide report into cities with multiple universities showed Dundee as a whole to suffer 5.5 incidents of the above types per 1,000 residents in an average year – more than five times that of St Andrews. Aberdeen had 4.7 per 1,000 people and Edinburgh had 6.4, while Glasgow saw 7.9.
The statistics used by both The Saint and the Complete University Guide include crimes committed against all residents, not just students. The Saint took the population of St Andrews to be 16,870 as reported in the 2011 census.