How to Stay Safe in London – Top Tips for Tourists

Churchill Support Services has been ranking areas of crime across the UK for years, as we believe this helps you better plan journeys and take the appropriate precautions to stay safe. As the capital of the UK, London is a popular location for tourists as well as business, students, and residents. At the same time, the masses of people in London attracts high opportunity for crime to occur.

In this article, we will be ranking the five areas of London with the highest crime rates, using data from the Met Police from October 2022-September 2023.

Using the most up to date data, we clearly outline our findings in this concise article, and provide advice on the individual measures you can take to safeguard yourself in London.

Which London Boroughs Have The Highest Crime Rates?

Below we have outlined the five most dangerous areas in London, based on crime data from Metropolitan Police. To provide a fair ranking, we have evaluated each area based upon the number of crimes per 1000 people, so that each area is rated proportional to the population.


5. Islington

129.3 per 1000 people

Islington, the second smallest borough in London, may come as a surprise entry on our list.  Islington is home to both the London Metropolitan University and the University of London, making it a popular student area. However, the borough grapples with high rates of theft, violence against individuals, and vehicle-related offences. All of these have contributed to Islington being ranked as the 5th most dangerous area in London.


4. Hammersmith & Fulham

136.2 crimes per 1000 people

Hammersmith and Fulham is home to one of London’s best-known events venues, the Hammersmith Apollo, as well as its renowned high-achieving schools. The area is home to the iconic football clubs Chelsea F.C and Fulham F.C, both major players in UK football. However, the area has high rates of theft and violent offences, making it the 4th most dangerous area for crime in London.


3. Camden

152.6 crimes per 1000 people

Camden is a lively borough known for its live music and fashion. The area is especially appealing to tourists, with the popular attractions of the London Zoo and British Museum. Of course, the famous Camden Market is also draws in large crowds also. Whilst incredibly popular amongst tourists, Camden has the 3rd highest crime rate in London due to the commonality of theft and violent offences in the area.


2. Kensington & Chelsea

157.3 crimes per 1000 people

Kensington and Chelsea has a reputation for being home for the rich, but this does not mean it is necessarily safe. The borough has an array of parks such as Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, and is renowned for hosting luxurious lifestyles for London’s wealthiest. Despite this, the area ranks in second place due to high rates of theft and violent crime occurring in the borough.


1. Westminster

340.7 crimes per 1000 people

Westminster attracts huge amounts of tourists every year, as one of the main hotspots for all those visiting London. This isn’t surprising due to the multitude of famous landmarks and attractions in Westminster, including the West End, the House of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace. Whilst these iconic sites attract huge crowds, they also create huge opportunity for pickpockets. The incredibly high rate of theft contributes to making Westminster the #1 most dangerous area in London, having the highest overall crime rate.


Top Tips For Staying Safe In London


To help maximise your personal security, we have created a list of tips to help keep you safe when in London. These are all tips for an individual that can help safeguard yourself and your belongings, wherever you are in London.


Make Sure You Prepare For Your Visit

If you’re heading to London as a tourist, it’s highly advisable you approach the trip as you would any other holiday. Make copies of important documents such as passports and tickets to events and ensure they are kept separate from the originals, should they be lost or stolen.

Making a list of locations you intend to visit is another way to safeguard yourself, sticking to populated areas with plenty of eyewitnesses and assistance if a threat arises. Whilst going off the beaten track can make an exciting adventure, it could lead you into unsafe areas. Particularly if travelling alone, unfamiliar areas may pose more risk to your safety as it may be harder to leave the area for safety if required.

Travelling with company is also advisable where possible, or memorising emergency contact numbers. This is useful should an emergency arise, or you need assistance. If you’re visiting London on your own or intend to spend time apart from a larger group, always make sure a trusted party knows where you’ll be and what your plans are. This way, if an unexpected incident does occur, it can be flagged quickly.


Only Use Safe Transport Options

London is well-equipped with a wide network of transport, from its extensive bus routes to the tube network, which will take you to all the main areas of the city. Taking public transport is a safe option of travel, with an array of support available in the event of a security threat. Across the UK, the British Transport Police provides security and support across railways and the London Underground network.

Another option for transportation round London is the iconic black cabs which line the taxi ranks of London’s streets. This is a safer option than walking alone in the dark, especially if you are unsure of the exact location you are headed. However, it is crucial that you pick a registered taxi! Every driver in London is licensed and regulated by Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police. Additionally, every driver will have unique badge number issues by Transport for London, which the driver should have on them at all times.

To fully safeguard yourself, book your taxi in advance if possible and request the name of the driver, vehicle type, and licence plate. You can also share your location and journey with a friend, so they can track your journey.


Protect Your Valuables

Common areas theft may occur includes the tube, meaning it’s vital to remain vigilant.  ‘Snatch and run’ thefts often occur on the tube, as well as at ATM machines where people may request to swap notes. In these situations, keep your bags closed and abandon the transaction if you feel uneasy.

Even in public spaces like markets or the subway, your possessions become prime targets for pickpockets. Headphones can significantly reduce your awareness of your surroundings, and those with ill intentions are aware of this fact. For this reason, keeping the volume of music down, or removing headphones if you feel uneasy, can help heighten your awareness sof your surroundings make you less susceptible to theft.

Items that are at high risk of theft include:

  • Mobile phones, tablets, and laptops
  • Purses and wallets
  • Cameras
  • Bank cards

To ensure your phone’s security, keep it well protected and have its IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity) stored separately. This number is crucial for the police to track your phone’s location if it’s stolen, making it more likely your device can be traced and returned.


Stay Alert If Walking At Night

As with most places, it is inadvisable to walk alone in the dark. Although London has a bustling, energetic nightlife, not all streets are well-lit or safe to walk down alone. Taking a wrong turn or a shortcut could result in walking down a darker area, where you are less able to see the threats ahead of you. It’s always best to book a registered taxi to your destination if you are not 100% sure of the area you are travelling to.


Avoid Situations Of Conflict Or Uncertainty

As with most cities, it is crucial to keep alert in busy crowds or on transport. Today’s pickpockets rarely make their actions obvious, instead creating set-ups and distractions which lower your awareness of the situation. If a commotion is occurring, or someone approaches you with a story that seems suspicious, keep alert of your whereabouts and your belongings.

Tactics that may be used to lower your guard include:

  • A ‘fight’ breaking out
  • An argument
  • Props (e.g. a pram)
  • Creative a diversion, e.g. a trip or fall
  • Street performances

Always be wary of anything that is orchestrated by other members of the public that doesn’t seem 100% genuine.  There’s every chance that what’s unfolding has been manufactured to lower your guard, making it easier for you to become a victim of a crime.


Choose Churchill Support Services For London Security

Churchill Support Services provides professional security for you and your London business, with our solutions tailored to suit your needs. When you choose Churchill Support Services for your London security solution, you’re choosing the #1 ACS-ranked security company in the UK. We are in the top 1% of approved contractors, with an average response time of 30 minutes or less.

Churchill offers a range of security solutions for you and your business, whether you need on-site security guards, CCTV solutions, or alarm responders.

All of our security personnel are SIA- licensed and vetted for a minimum of 5 years, so you can trust that your security service is reliable and dedicated to safeguarding you and your business. With Churchill’s bespoke tailored solutions, you can rest assured that your business, staff, and assets are safeguarded. Our dedicated staff guarantee a rapid turnaround time and exceptional quality solutions, from our customer service team to our Control Centre, which is manned 24/7/365.

To find out more about how Churchill Support Services can support your London business and receive a free, no-obligation quote, get in touch with our team of experts today.

John Melling

Group Chief Executive Officer

John has a proven track record for motivating and leading high performance teams and has helped mentor and develop many people at Churchill who now hold key or senior positions within the business. John is committed to delivering only the finest services, exercising compelling leadership, maintaining good internal morale and striving to resolve any challenges efficiently and effectively.