The Top 25 Most Dangerous Areas In England And Wales (Updated For 2024)

It’s an unavoidable truth that, no matter where we might choose to live or work, crime will always be a factor. Antisocial behaviour and vandalism on our street corners, shoplifting and theft from retailers big and small – these are all too common occurrences, and often dominate headlines on both a local and national scale.

Of course, while criminal activity is a persistent issue countrywide, there are certain areas of the UK that are far more dangerous than others. As an industry-leading security firm, we’re all too aware of the importance of knowledge and understanding in the face of crime, and with our latest guide, we’ll seek to arm you with just that.

We’ll explore 25 of the most dangerous areas in England and Wales, and explore the key crime statistics that make them such a hazardous area to live in. We’ll also look at the trends to properly determine whether preventative measures are effective, or whether more work needs to be done to ensure that residents and visitors alike feel safe.

 

What Is Crime Like In England & Wales?

England and Wales Crime Overview

An incredibly diverse landscape, spanning the hustle and bustle of some of the world’s major economic powerhouses, right through to the rolling hills and valleys of the idyllic English and Welsh countryside, England and Wales have a little something to offer for everyone.

Unfortunately, and in spite of that all-encompassing approach, crime still finds a way to impact every corner of the countries. With 5,494,256 criminal offences over the last 12 months alone, equating to an overall crime rate of 91.2 crimes per 1000 people, England and Wales clearly face an uphill battle with the criminal issues across the country.

Upon closer inspection of those crime statistics, there’s even more cause for concern. High figures across violent crime (2,049,254 incidents), theft (1,789,462 incidents) and public order offences (516,661 incidents) are just the headline acts in a lineup that makes for grim reading.

There’s also mounting concerning surrounding key crimes that have seen their incident counts rise dramatically. Shoplifting (430,104 incidents) saw the largest rise compared with last year’s stats, surging by 36%.

There’s been similarly startling rises across theft from the person (125,563 incidents, up by 18%), robbery (81,094, up by 13%) and weapon possession (58,989 incidents, up by 6%).

It’s not all bad news, however – overall crime across England and Wales fell by around 1% in the last year although, as we’ve seen, there’s still huge causes for concern. That’s especially true with some of the most dangerous areas of England and Wales – let’s break those down in more detail.

 

The 25 Most Dangerous Areas Of England & Wales Revealed

We’ll uncover England and Wales’ most dangerous areas, as well as a cross-section of the key statistics that make these such an unsavoury place to live or visit.

25. Portsmouth

Overall Crime Rate Of 122.8 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of England’s most recognisable harbourside cities is unfortunately also one of its most dangerous, with Portsmouth seeing an estimated 122.8 crimes per 1,000 residents. Concern arises from high rates of violent crime (10,475 incidents), theft (7,160 incidents) and public order offences (2725 incidents).

 

24. Southwark

Overall Crime Rate Of 122.8 Crimes Per 1000 People

The first of London’s most dangerous boroughs to make our list, Southwark plays host to a swathe of the capital’s cultural icons, from the Shard to the Globe Theatre. In spite of those undoubted draws, there’s considerable concern for the area’s overall crime rate of 122.8 crimes per 1000 residents, along with soaring numbers in theft (19,692 offences), violent crime (9,136 offences), and criminal damage (2,154 offences).

 

23. Calderdale

Overall Crime Rate Of 122.9 Crimes Per 1000 People

Home to Halifax, and nestled at the centre of the lush Calder Valley, the appropriately named Calderdale hides a dark secret beneath its canopies in a rising crime rate of 122.9 crimes per 1000 residents. Violent crime (11,509 incidents) accounts for 45% of all crime in the area, with theft (6,172 incidents) and public order offences (3,115 incidents) closely following behind.

 

22. Hackney

Hackney Crime Rates

Overall Crime Rate Of 123.3 Crimes Per 1000 People

Synonymous with the infamous Black Cabs, and one of London’s more heavily residential areas, the borough of Hackney sees a crime rate that reflect its dense population, sitting at 123.3 crimes per 1000 residents. Looking deeper, we find startling figures across many of the more common issues, including theft (15,205 incidents), violent crime (8,702 incidents), and vehicle offences (2,586 incidents).

 

21. Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Overall Crime Rate Of 123.7 Crimes Per 1000 People

Often viewed as one of the capitals of the North East, Newcastle’s glittering nightlife and innumerable cultural contributions are overshadowed by its climbing crime rate of 123.7 crimes per 1000 residents. That’s predominately made up of high rates of violent crime (13,217 offences) and theft (13,005 offences), but there’s also concerns surrounding rising numbers in drug crimes (1,193 offences).

 

20. Nottingham

Overall Crime Rate Of 124.6 Crimes Per 1000 People

Infamous for its place in myth with Robin Hood, as well as being one of the UK’s most rapidly growing cities, Nottingham’s equally expanding crime rate of 124.6 crimes per 1000 residents is perhaps reflective of that increase in popularity. High rates of theft (14,008 offences), violent crime (13,401 offences) and criminal damage (3,843 offences) are among the top concerns for residents.

 

19. Hammersmith & Fulham

Overall Crime Rate Of 124.8 Crimes Per 1000 People

An epicentre for London’s sporting and academic prowess, it’s no doubt disheartening to see Hammersmith & Fulham rank so highly among England & Wales’ most dangerous areas. But with an overall crime rate of 124.8 crimes per 1000 residents, and soaring numbers across theft (11,551 incidents), violent crime (5,909 incidents) and vehicle offences (3,187 incidents), its position is more than warranted.

 

18. Leicester

Overall Crime Rate Of 125 Crimes Per 1000 People

From its Premier League winning football team, to its reputation as one of the East Midlands’ most coveted areas to live and work, there’s so many draws to Leicester. Its overall crime rate of 125 crimes per 1000 residents offers a counterpoint, however, with rising rates of violent crime (17,920 incidents), theft (12,416 incidents) and public order offences (5,992 incidents) all contributing towards that rate.

 

17. Birmingham

Overall Crime Rate Of 128.9 Crimes Per 1000 People

Officially the UK’s second largest city, and a bastion of culture, arts and industry in the West Midlands, Birmingham’s criminal reputation is a notable downside to its multi-faceted appeal. The city’s overall crime rate sits at 128.9 crimes per 1000 residents, with astronomical numbers in violent crime (61,201 offences), theft (46,871 offences) and vehicle offences (14,683 offences).

 

16. Wakefield

Overall Crime Rate Of 130.3 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of Yorkshire’s most recognisable cathedral cities, and harbouring a proud rugby heritage, Wakefield’s crime rate of 130.3 crimes per 1000 residents undercuts that acclaim slightly. Digging deeper, we uncover concerning numbers in violent crimes (19,827 incidents), theft (12,711 incidents) and public order offences (5,360 incidents).

 

15. Islington

Overall Crime Rate Of 131.5 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of North London’s most iconic boroughs is also one of its most dangerous, clocking in at 131.5 crimes per 1000 residents. Theft (14,294 offences) is the most prevalent issue for Islington locals, accounting for 49% of all criminal activity in the area, alongside high figures in both violent crime (7,148 offences) and vehicle crimes (2,288 offences).

 

14. Lincoln

Overall Crime Rate Of 131.6 Crimes Per 1000 People

The namesake of its county, and one of England’s most historically significant and influential cities, Lincoln’s reputation has shifted in recent years to one of a less desirable nature, with crimes sitting at 131.6 crimes per 1000 residents. Under the microscope, we find significant concerns surrounding the figures in violent crime (4,944 incidents), theft (4,371 incidents) and criminal damage (1,347 incidents).

 

13. Bradford

Bradford Crime Rates

Overall Crime Rate Of 132.4 Crimes Per 1000 People

While a storied history in sports and culture, and the plans for a revolution to the struggling industry and commercial sectors of the city, offer a glimpse of the fading quality, the soaring crime rate of 132.4 crimes per 1000 residents says otherwise. Violent crimes (32,762 incidents), theft (17,291 incidents) and public order offences (8,323 incidents) all regularly make the headlines.

 

12. Southampton

Overall Crime Rate Of 133.3 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of this island nation’s most recognised port cities, and often viewed as the gateway to England, Southampton’s popularity takes a back seat to its crime rate of 133.3 crimes per 1000 residents. There’s mounting concern for the rising figures in violent crime (13,203 offences) and theft (10,034 offences), as well as a rate of burglary (2,407 offences) that’s 77% higher than neighbouring Portsmouth.

 

11. Leeds

Overall Crime Rate Of 133.3 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of Yorkshire’s largest cities and with a thriving arts and culture scene, the Leeds area’s popularity is perhaps a contributor to its soaring rate of crime, which sits at a dizzying 133.3 crimes per 1000 residents. The latest statistics saw concerning numbers across many of the main issues facing the UK, including violent crime (42,516 incidents), theft (34,466 incidents) and public order offences (12,102 incidents).

 

10. Doncaster

Overall Crime Rate Of 134.1 Crimes Per 1000 People

At the cusp of the top 10 most dangerous areas of England and Wales lies Doncaster. The industrial powerhouse and densely populated area of South Yorkshire saw 134.1 crimes per 1000 residents over the last year, with violent crime (14,822 offences), theft (13,849 incidents) and criminal damage (4,455 offences) all witnessing substantial and concerning figures.

 

9. Hull

Overall Crime Rate Of 136.7 Crimes Per 1000 People

A former city of culture now turned crime hotspot, Hull’s fall from grace has culminated in a crime rate that places amongst the worst in Yorkshire – 136.7 crimes per 1000 residents. Climbing figures across violent crime (14,605 incidents), theft (10,367 incidents) and public order offences (4,582 incidents) all underscore the changing tides in Kingston-Upon-Hull.

 

8. Liverpool

Overall Crime Rate Of 136.7 Crimes Per 1000 People

Integral to the UK’s musical, arts and cultural contributions, Liverpool also makes a much more unwelcome to England and Wales’ overall crime rate, seeing an estimated 136.7 crimes per 1000 residents. There’s multiple contributors towards that rate, but violent crime (25,273 offences), theft (17,532 offences) and drug crimes (5,865 offences) are among the three most prevalent.

 

7. Hartlepool

Overall Crime Rate Of 149.2 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of two areas in the North East to make the top 10 most dangerous areas of England and Wales, Hartlepool – in spite of its proud maritime – sees a crime rate that forecasts stormy seas ahead, at 149.2 crimes per 1000 residents. Digging deeper, we find much to be concerned about, with violent crimes (5,629 incidents), theft (4,323 incidents) and criminal damage (1,716 incidents) all seeing growing numbers.

 

6. Blackpool

Overall Crime Rate Of 157.3 Crimes Per 1000 People

A premier coastal destination in the North, and a cherished part of many seaside memories for people across the UK, Blackpool’s chintzy exterior hides a disturbing crime rate of 157.3 crimes per 1000 residents. The major issues stem from soaring numbers in violent crime (9,703 offences), theft (6,309 offences) and criminal damage (2,283 offences).

 

5. Kensington & Chelsea

Overall Crime Rate Of 160.4 Crimes Per 1000 People

A shock inclusion so high on this list, one of the more affluent districts of the capital in Kensington and Chelsea sees a startling 160.4 crimes per 1000 residents. Perhaps unsurprisingly, theft (14,032 incidents) accounts for over 57% of all crime in the borough, with equally concerning numbers cropping up in violent crime (4,624 incidents) and vehicle offences (2,902 incidents).

 

4. Middlesbrough

Overall Crime Rate Of 170.1 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of the North East’s (and indeed the country’s) most industrious towns is also one of it most dangerous, with Middlesbrough seeing an estimated 170.1 crimes per 1000 residents. There’s major issues across the board, but violent crimes (9,675 offences), theft (6,608 offences) and criminal damage (3,173 offences) are the chief headline makers in Middlesbrough.

 

3.  Manchester

Overall Crime Rate Of 172.6 Crimes Per 1000 People

Often looked fondly upon as the “Capital of the North”, Manchester seeks to emulate London in its metropolitan attitude. However, it’s also done so in its crime rate of 172.6 crimes per 1000 residents which is comparable only to the capital. Violent crimes (33,253 incidents) and theft (32,266 incidents) are the two most prevalent issues, but there’s mounting worries surrounding the numbers across public order offences (11,612 incidents) and criminal damage (7,605 incidents) too.

 

2. Camden

Overall Crime Rate Of 184.2 Crimes Per 1000 People

Most closely tied with its world-renowned market, Camden has a secondary reputation as England and Wales’ second-most dangerous area. With its soaring crime rate of 184.2 crimes per 1000 residents, and considerable numbers in theft (23,971 offences), violent crimes (7,702 offences) and vehicle crimes (3,210 offences), it’s perhaps no surprise the borough ranks so highly.

 

1. Westminster

Overall Crime Rate Of 440 Crimes Per 1000 People

Shockingly, the most dangerous area of England and Wales is the hub for all things written into law and governance. Home to the Houses of Parliament, Westminster’s overwhelming tourist popularity brings with it a tidal wave of criminality, leading to its overall crime rate of a staggering 440 crimes per 1000 residents.

Digging deeper, Westminster’s main problems arise from an unmatched rate of theft (65,020 incidents), which accounts for more than 69% of all crime in the borough. That’s alongside equally alarming numbers in violent crime (11,958 incidents), vehicle offences (4,503 incidents) and public order offences (4,024 incidents).

 

Key Trends In Crime Across England & Wales

England and Wales Crime Trends

Of course, as you’ll no doubt have gleaned from our article so far, crime is (and has long been) a pressing issue across England and Wales. However, it’s not all doom and gloom – there’s been a distinct dip of 1% in the total number of crimes (5,494,256 offences, down from 5,527,664 offences).

Closer inspection reveals reason to optimistic, with falls across several different offence types. Public order offences, for instance, fell by 13% (516,611 incidents, down from 592,323 incidents), while bicycle theft fell by 12% (68,612 incidents, down from 77,876 incidents).

There’s also been lower-but-no-less-impactful changes in stalking and harassment (down by 6%, from 707,267 incidents to 663,526), criminal damage (down by 5%, from 534,481 incidents to 508,936) and violent crime (down by 3%, from 2,112,624 incidents to 2,049,254).

However, these changes are overshadowed by larger-scale shifts in some of England and Wales’ biggest crime issues. Shoplifting, for instance, saw a huge 36% rise when compared with the previous year’s statistics (430,104 incidents in 2023, compared with 315,040 incidents).

There’s equally worrying rises in theft from the person (up by 18% to 125,563 incidents), robbery (up by 13% to 81,094 incidents) and weapon possession (up by 8% to 58,989 incidents).

 

Weapon Offences Across England & Wales

England and Wales Weapon Offences

One of the most pressing concerns for England and Wales, weapon crimes have unfortunately only increased over the most recent twelve month period. As we touched on in our previous section, weapon possession as a whole has risen by 8%.

Looking more closely, we find that knife crimes alone have seen a 7% increase, going from 46,153 incidents in 2022, to 49,489 incidents over the course of 2023. Gun crimes rose by slightly more (9%), with 5,850 incidents in 2022 compared with 6,367 incidents in 2023.

 

How Do We Source Our Crime Statistics?

In order to ensure that we report our crime statistics accurately and objectively, we use the latest batch of data from the Police UK website. That’s then coupled with the latest Census data from the Office of National Statistics to ensure that we provide an accurate indication of what crime is like in your area.

We’ll then display this as a ratio of the number of crimes per 1,000 people living in that area. Not only does this make it much easier to understand what the most dangerous areas of England and Wales are, but it also allows us to take into account key variables like population and area size.

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.

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