Safety & Security

The same safety rules apply when studying abroad as at home.

Much is new and exciting when studying abroad, but the rules about staying safe remain the same.

The UK benefits from relatively low rates of violent crime, but petty theft can be a problem.

Staying safe – the usual rules apply

  • Stay aware of yourself, your surroundings and your valuables
  • Don’t be distracted by your phone
  • Cell phone theft is extremely common.  Be cautious of putting your phone on the table in front of you or in a back pocket.
  • Don’t leave your bags unattended, hanging off the back of your chair while in a cafe, or next to your chair
  • Avoid walking alone in isolated areas, including public parks, especially after dark
  • Don’t allow anyone to distract you at an ATM.
  • Don’t leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from someone you don’t know
  • Don’t ever accept a ride from a mini-cab that you did not order. Women and men have been assaulted by drivers.
  • Don’t display expensive possessions.

Useful US government websites with security advice:
1. American Citizens Abroad

2. The US Embassy

The UK Home Office posts UK threat levels on its website.

Enroll in the US State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.  They keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements and can help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.

The American Citizen Services section maintains a blog of easy-to-access information relevant to U.S. citizens living in or traveling to the United Kingdom.

Local Embassy and Consulate information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.

Responding to an emergency

  • 999  UK Emergencies: police/fire/ambulance
  • +44 7754880730 Bianca Leggett, Resident Director
  • 111 Non-emergency medical advice
  • 101 Non-emergency police

Stay in your residence or university building and contact Bianca Leggett, your home, UK university international office and US contacts. Text, email or phone. If we ask you to come to the office or meet somewhere else, please do so.

Stay in touch with your family and friends in the US. They will be worried about you and won’t have full and accurate information.

If you are away from your normal residence in the UK make sure we know where you can be reached.

For offices at Cornell, Brown and Penn (police numbers 24 hours)

Cornell Abroad  001 607 255 6224     Cornell campus police   001 607 255 1111

Brown: OIP  001 401 863 3555           Brown campus police  001 401 863 3322

UPenn: OIP   001 215 898 9073          UPenn campus police  001 215 573 3333

Useful Security Contacts

U.S. Embassy London
24 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 6AH
Telephone: 020-7499-9000
Telephone from the United States: 011-44-20-7499-9000 (24 hours)
Consular fax: 020-7495-5012
Consular fax from the United States: 011-44-20-7495-5012

U.S. Consulate General Edinburgh, Scotland
3 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5BW
Telephone: 013-1556-8315
Telephone from the United States: 011-44-13-1556-8315
Emergency after-hours telephone: 020-7499-9000
Emergency after-hours telephone from the United States: 011-44-20-7499-9000
Fax: 0131-557-6023
Fax from the United States: 011-44-131-557-6023

Responding to a violent incident or major emergency

If there is any reason to believe that you may have been in the locality of a violent incident or major emergency, you will be contacted by your Resident Director to check that you are safe and offer further support if necessary.  You will be contacted first through email and Facebook–if you do not respond, you will receive a text message or call to your cellphone.  It is your responsibility to check in as safe as quickly as possible.  Efforts will be made to reach you until a response is elicited, so considerable time will be wasted if you do not respond.

You may wish to download the app CitizenAid for advice of how to respond in an emergency situation.