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London bus at nightLondon is a very safe city. However, just like any capital, crime does exist and it’s always best to take extra caution and be prepared when you come to town – whether you are a first time visitor, or even a Londoner! What follows is a handy guide filled with tips and tricks to keep you safe as you travel through town. Remember: The vast majority of crime in London is opportunistic so as long as you don’t appear to be a target – you will likely not become one!

Note: In some countries it is common practice for people to carry a knife – but many blades are illegal in London. Check https://www.gov.uk/find-out-if-i-can-buy-or-carry-a-knife before you travel to avoid arrest, imprisonment or fines.

Travel Tips

  • London look rightPlan your journeys ahead of time, if possible. Know where you are going and which stop you will need. (Check www.tfl.gov.uk to plan your trips!)
  • Keep to well-lit main roads when walking at night.
  • Only use registered minicabs or black cabs – never get into an unmarked or unregistered vehicle and never accept a journey from a driver off the street. Only black cabs are allowed to pick up travelers on the street.
  • Do not wear headphones when travelling alone as this will prevent you from being aware of your surroundings.
  • If you are travelling alone on a bus at night – sit downstairs.
  • It seems obvious but take care when crossing the street – we drive on the left here!

 

Keeping Belongings Safe

  • London Mind the GapKeep your wallet close to your body, and valuables on your person when possible.
  • Keep things like money, wallets, phones, etc. out of sight.
  • Never leave your bags unattended anywhere in London – this can lead to security alerts!
  • When carrying your bag, tuck it under your arm, or if you have a longer strap, cross it over your chest and one shoulder.
  • Try not to carry very much cash.
  • Only use cash points/ATMs that are well lit and be aware of people standing behind you.
  • Cover the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN at a cash point.
  • If a stranger on the street asks you for directions or the time, be extra aware of your belongings while you answer (particularly your phone and wallet).
  • Always keep a separate bit of cash somewhere else on you so, even if you are a victim of crime, you will always have enough money to get back to your home/hotel.
  • Do not tuck your phone into your back pocket!

 

Bars, Pubs & Restaurant Tips

  • Bar and beerKeep your property underneath the table or out of sight.
  • Many locations have bag clips underneath bars/tables. Hang your bags there if you can.
  • Don’t leave your drink unattended and do not accept drinks from strangers.
  • Consider covering your drink when not sipping.
  • When out on the town, keep an eye on your friends and vice versa!
  • Do not accept cigarettes from strangers

 

 

Medical and Emergency Services

  • To reach Emergency Services dial 999 or 112 (only in case of a REAL emergency)
  •  To report non-urgent crime, contact a local police station or dial 101.

About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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