The Top 10 Most Dangerous Areas In England And Wales (Updated For 2022)

At Churchill Support Services, we have long believed that a knowledge of crime statistics helps businesses protect themselves in the most appropriate ways. After all, it’s difficult to know which security measures can best defend your people and assets if you don’t know which crimes are prevalent in your area.

Using the latest available data from the Office of National Statistics, we have updated the rankings of the top 10 areas of England and Wales for highest crime rates (excluding fraud) relative to population.

So, here goes…

10. Durham – 92.3

The cathedral city of Durham, replete with prestigious university and 11th century castle, is an unlikely candidate for one of England Wales’s most dangerous areas but, for the second year running, it occupies a top 10 position.

Despite having the second smallest population in this ignominious list with 640,600 people calling the region home, its crime rate currently stands at 92.3 per 1,000 people. Though Durham continues to be a place where reports of theft are comparatively low, ‘burglary’, ‘stalking and harassment’, and ‘criminal damage and arson’ all outstrip the national average.

It might well boast places of outstanding natural beauty and an array of cultural and historical hotspots but Durham is a place to exercise caution.

2021 ranking: 10th place with 89.6


9. North Wales – 96.2

Replacing Northumbria in ninth position, is a new entry in our list: North Wales. Serving 703,400 residents, North Wales constabulary protect the third smallest population on our list but are kept plenty busy, nonetheless.

Of the four regions of Wales (the others being South Wales, Gwent, and Dyfed-Powys), the North performs marginally better than average across ‘thefts’, ‘vehicle offences’, and ‘burglaries’ but elsewhere, the picture is grim.

At 46.2 incidents per 1,000 people, ‘violence against the person’ is almost 10 full incidents more than the Welsh national average (36.6) while ‘violence without injury’, ‘public order offences’, and ‘stalking and harassment’ are all more prevalent in the North of the country.

2021 ranking: NEW ENTRY


8. Kent – 96.8

Colloquially known as ‘The Garden of England’, the South East county of Kent is better known for its chocolate box villages, rolling green countryside, and the cathedral city of Canterbury. However, England’s tenth largest county is also the eighth most dangerous.

Across almost every category of crime, Kent surpasses the average for the whole of the South East of England. Indeed, of the 23 categories, ‘The Garden’ only recorded a lower crime rate than the rest of the county in four.

It’s natural beauty and quaint rural communities notwithstanding, Kent has more than its fair share of aggressive incidents. At 44.6 per 1,000 people, ‘Violence against the person’ occurred at a rate of over 12 incidents more than the South East generally (32.3) and comfortably exceeds the average in the categories of ‘violence with injury’, ‘violence without injury’, and ‘criminal damage and arson’.

2021 ranking: 8th place with 91.4


7. Humberside – 98.3

Although the name ‘Humberside’ was retired in 1996 and replaced with Yorkshire and The Humber as part of the absorption of major conurbations like Leeds, Bradford, and Sheffield, the region is still patrolled by the Humberside Police. And they have plenty to keep them occupied.

With a population of 934,400 residing in historic towns such as Grimsby (once home to the world’s largest fishing fleet) and Scarborough (which sadly ended its Fairs in 1788), Humberside is actually one of the safer places in Yorkshire and the Humber. However, a crime rate of 98.3 per 1,000 is high enough to propel the area to seventh spot in our list.

Residents and businesses within the boundary of Humberside are subject to a particularly higher incidence of ‘shoplifting’ and ‘criminal damage and arson’, the region topping the table in both categories.

2021 ranking: 7th place with 95.2


6. South Yorkshire – 105.0

The landlocked, southernmost county of Yorkshire and The Humber, South Yorkshire consists of four metropolitan boroughs: Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield. Time has not been kind to South Yorkshire and the loss of major industries coupled with underinvestment has led to it becoming one of the most poverty-stricken regions in Western Europe.

South Yorkshire’s various socio-economic problems are, unsurprisingly, reflected in a crime rate that has jumped up by 9 since the last count in 2021, consolidating its position in sixth place on our list of the most dangerous areas of England and Wales.

The area can at least lay claim to recording fewer violent offences than Yorkshire and Humber’s overall average but it’s a claim sullied by the significantly higher incidences of ‘robbery’, ‘burglary’, and ‘theft offences’. All of which have helped to cement South Yorkshire placing of sixth for the second consecutive year.

2021 ranking: 6th place with 96.0


5. Merseyside – 115.6

In 2021, Merseyside burst into the top 10 most dangerous areas of England and Wales and straight into fifth spot. A year on, it has maintained that position. The region’s population of 1,434,300, is spread out across the five metropolitan boroughs of Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral, and the city of Liverpool, and has been subject to an almost 20 point jump in crime rate: from 96.7 per 1,000 to 115.6.

In most of the 23 categories, Merseyside’s crime rate is fairly unremarkable and it recorded the lowest rate for ‘sexual offences’ in the whole of the North West despite topping the table for ‘violence against the person’ and ‘violence without injury’.

However, Merseyside’s real challenge is with drug-related crimes. Across all of England and Wales, the average number of ‘drug offences’ is 3.0 per 1,000. In Merseyside, it is 8.3 per 1,000, giving the region the highest drug-related crime rate in the country by far.

2021 ranking: 5th place with 96.7


4. West Midlands- 123.0

The West Midlands is another area that entered the top 10 in 2021, landing just outside the top three in fourth spot. Sadly, nothing has changed here either. With almost three million people calling the West Midlands home, it stands as the second most populous county in England after Greater London and comprises seven metropolitan boroughs.

You don’t need to spend much time scrutinising the data to see why this part of England was catapulted into fourth position last year and remains there today. ‘Violence against the person’ was recorded at a rate of 54.9 per 1,000. To put that into perspective, England’s average for this offence is 35.0 per 1,000.

Elsewhere, the picture is similarly bleak. ‘Violence without injury’ is pretty much double that of anywhere else in the region as are ‘theft offences’, ‘vehicle offences’, and ‘residential burglaries’.

2021 ranking: 4th place with 102.9


3. Greater Manchester – 124.3

For two years on the bounce, Greater Manchester takes the unwanted bronze medal for third most dangerous place in England and Wales. Its 2,848,300 residents account for over a third of all people in the North West, and covers the boroughs of Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Manchester, and Salford.

With so many people packed into a relatively small 493 square miles, Greater Manchester’s troubling crime rate is perhaps unsurprising. As is the nature of the most prevalent crimes.

High population density creates fertile ground for thieves and Greater Manchester tops the table in the categories of ‘robbery’, ‘theft offences’, and ‘burglary’. Indeed, of the 23 crime categories, Greater Manchester has either the highest or second highest rate in 20.

2021 ranking: 2nd place with 107.9


2. West Yorkshire – 125.5

The five metropolitan boroughs that make up West Yorkshire – Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield – boast a collective population of 2,345,200. This, despite the area being only the 29th largest in the country. Much like Greater Manchester, population density has had an all too familiar consequence and West Yorkshire’s 125.5 crimes per 1,000 people makes it the second most dangerous place in England and Wales.

West Yorkshire seems to have a particular problem with violence. It tops the categories of ‘violence against the person’, ‘violence with injury’, and ‘violence without injury’, and records a worryingly high 22.6 incidents of ‘stalking and harassment’ per 1,000 people.

Aside from a handful of relatively low-level crimes such as ‘bicycle theft’, West Yorkshire features high enough in the other categories to establish itself as the second most dangerous place on our list.

2021 ranking: 3rd place with 111.6


 1. Cleveland – 129.0

Tucked away in the North East of England, Cleveland is one of the smallest areas in the country with one of the smallest populations at just 569,800. But do not be fooled, with 129.0 crimes recorded per 1,000 people, this diminutive corner of our island has the highest crime rate of all.

Cleveland can’t even point to a crime category in which it records a lower rate than the other regions of the North East. Across all 23 categories, its crime rate is the worst.

More troubling still, some of the biggest margin differences are for some of the gravest crimes, including ‘violence against the person’, ‘violence with injury’, ‘stalking and harassment’, ‘criminal damage and arson’, and ‘possession of weapons’.

So, have some sympathy should you ever meet a member of the Cleveland Police; for two years now, they have served in the most dangerous area in all of England and Wales.

2021 ranking: 1st place with 114.9


Protect Your Business

If you have a business in one of these counties, you may want to take extra precautions to protect your business from crime. If you’re looking for a professional security company to safeguard your people, property and assets, get in touch with Churchill Support Services today. We can offer a range of security solutions to provide the protection you need.

John Melling

Managing Director

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.