The Top 10 Most Dangerous Areas In England And Wales (Updated For 2021)

December 6, 2021

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Here at Churchill Support Services, it’s safe to say that we love a good crime ranking. We believe that crime stats can help businesses protect themselves; it’s hard to know what security measures you need when you don’t know exactly what you’re up against.

Using the most recently available data from the Office of National Statistics, it’s possible to see which parts of England and Wales have the highest rates of crime.

The latest stats apply to the year ending June 2021, giving us the best idea of where the most dangerous areas across England and Wales are in 2021. Rather than rank areas in terms of the total number of crimes committed, we’ve looked at crime rates in proportion to the population for each of the 43 policing areas across England and Wales – ranking them based on the number of offences committed per 1,000 people (excluding fraud).

So, here are the most dangerous areas in England and Wales updated for 2021.


10. Durham – 89.6

Unlike most counties, the county of Durham doesn’t adhere to the expected naming form – which would be Durhamshire. Instead, the county simply takes on the name of its principal town and cathedral city, Durham. County Durham covers 1,051 square miles and has a population of 640,000. With 14,975 crimes reported in 2021, County Durham has a crime rate of 89.6 per 1,000 people, making it the 10th most dangerous area in England and Wales and the first entry on our list.

When it comes to individual crime categories, Durham also ranks lowest for theft offences, residential burglary, and drug offences out of the 10 areas on our list. It does, however, rank second-highest for criminal damage and arson with 13.4 reports per 1000 people, a whole five points above the national average.

2019 ranking: 9th place with 99.8


9.Northumbria – 89.7

Northumbria Police serve a population of around 1,470,00 and is one of the largest police forces in the UK. Bordering Cumbria to the west, County Durham and Tyne and Wear to the south, and the Scottish Borders to the north, the Northumbria area covers more than 2,000 square miles. Though not an official county, Northumbria Police recorded a total of 131, 906 crimes. This gives Northumbria a total crime rate of 89.7 per 1000 people, placing it in nineth place in our ranking.

Taking a closer look at the individual crime categories, Northumbria ranks the lowest out of our top 10 for violence against the person, with 32.9 crimes per 1000 people, only 0.7 above the national average. It also ranks low for burglaries and non-residential burglaries but comes in third-highest for both shoplifting and criminal damage and arson.

2019 ranking: 3rd place with 110.4


8.Kent – 91.4

Kent is a south-eastern English county and is home to the historic city of Canterbury, as well as the county town of Maidstone. Covering 1,442 square miles, Kent is the tenth largest county in England and has a population of 1,868,200. With a crime rate of 91.4 per 1,000 people, Kent comes in eighth place on our list of the most dangerous places in England and Wales.

As for the individual crime categories, Kent generally ranks quite low. Indeed, out of the 10 places on our list, it ranks lowest for burglary and non-residential burglary, with the crimes per 1000 people actually lower than the national average in both of these categories. It does, however, move up the rankings for violence against the person, coming in fourth place with 42.7 incidents per 1000 people.

2019 ranking: 5th place with 107.8


7.Humberside – 95.2

Today classed as part of Yorkshire and The Humber, Humberside has a population of 934,400 and stretches as far north as Bridlington, across to the Isle of Axholme and down to the outskirts of Grimsby. Though no longer a ceremonial county (Humberside was formally abolished on April 1, 1996), the area is still policed by the Humberside Police. With a crime rate of 95.2 per 1,000 people, Humberside comes in seventh place in the Churchill ranking.

Taking a closer look at the crime categories, Humberside ranks fairly consistently in the middle, coming in sixth place for theft offences, burglary, household burglary and non-residential burglary.  When it comes to shoplifting, however, Humberside ranks second highest, just below Cleveland, with 6.1 instances of shoplifting per 1000 people.

2019 ranking: 8th place with 101.7


6.South Yorkshire – 96.0

The southernmost county of Yorkshire and Humber, South Yorkshire consists of four metropolitan boroughs: Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield. The landlocked county lies on the east of the Pennines and covers an area of 599 square miles. The area is one of the least prosperous in Western Europe and has been targeted for funding from the European Regional Development Fund. With a crime rate of 96.0 per 1,000 people, South Yorkshire place comes in sixth place on our list of the most dangerous areas of England and Wales.

Breaking the crime rate down by category, South Yorkshire seems to have a particular problem with burglaries, ranking joint first for burglary with Greater Manchester, as well as first and second for non-residential and residential burglaries respectively. The good news? South Yorkshire ranks second lowest for violence against the person.

2019 ranking: 7th place with 102.5



Merseyside is one of the two new entries here on the most dangerous areas of England and Wales, having not featured in the top 10 in previous years. With a population of 1,434,300, Merseyside is a metropolitan and ceremonial county in the Northwest of England. It encompasses 5 metropolitan boroughs; Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral, and the city of Liverpool. With a crime rate of 96.7 per 1000, it comes in at fifth place in the Churchill Support Services ranking.

Despite coming in fifth place overall, Merseyside generally ranks low to mid-range for the individual crime categories. It should be noted that the county ranks joint lowest for shoplifting out of our top 10, as well as second lowest for criminal damage and arson. Yet Merseyside ends up in fifth due to the high drug offence rate- a whopping 8.9 crimes per 1000 (the national average is 3.3).

2019 ranking: N/A- New entry


4.West Midlands- 102.9

The West Midlands is another new entry on our list, coming in fourth place with a crime rate of 102.9 per 1000 people. With a population of 2,939,900, the West Midlands is the second most populous county in England after Greater London. It’s comprised of seven metropolitan boroughs including the cities of Birmingham and Coventry.

When we delve into the crime categories, it’s not hard to see why the West Midlands ranks in fourth place for the most dangerous areas in England and Wales. Out of our top ten areas, it ranks third place for both theft offences and residential burglary, as well as second place for violence against the person. The good news is that the West Midlands ranks the lowest for criminal damage and arson, as well as joint lowest for shoplifting.

2019 ranking: N/A- New entry


3.Greater Manchester – 107.9

With a population of 2,848,300, Greater Manchester encompasses one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom – and includes the boroughs of Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Manchester and Salford. With so many people in such a relatively small area (Greater Manchester covers an area of only 493 square miles), it may not be surprising that the county has a high rate of crime. With a total of 307,349 crimes recorded, Greater Manchester’s crime rate is 107.9 per 1000 people, making it the third most dangerous area in England and Wales.

Looking at the crime categories, It’s not surprising that Greater Manchester comes in third place; it ranks the highest out of our top 10 areas for theft offences, burglary, and residential burglary.  Topping the charts for so many crime categories, you may be wondering why it doesn’t rank higher. That’s because Greater Manchester ranks low in other areas, such as shoplifting and criminal damage.

2019 ranking: 2nd place with 120.8


2.West Yorkshire – 111.6

West Yorkshire consists of five metropolitan boroughs – Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield – and has a population of 2,345,200. Landlocked with eastward-draining valleys, West Yorkshire borders Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. It is the fifth most populous county despite being only the 29th largest (covering 2,940 square miles). Police recorded a total of 261,757 crimes in West Yorkshire, giving it a crime rate of 111.6 per 1,000 people.

For the various crime categories, West Yorkshire ranks fairly consistently in the middle, coming in fifth place for theft offences, burglary (of all types) and shoplifting. It also comes in third place for drug offences and top of the shop for violence against the person with 47.4 crimes per 1000 (a whole 15.8 above the national average).

 2019 ranking: 1st place with 123.2


1.Cleveland – 114.9

And coming in at number one we have Cleveland! Getting its name from “cliff-land”, referring to its hilly areas – Cleveland is situated in the Northeast of England. Although no longer an official administrative county, Cleveland is still policed by the Cleveland Police who cover Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton, and Middlesbrough. The county is twinned with Cleveland, Ohio, and boasts an extremely varied geographic terrain. With a crime rate of 114.9 per 1000, Cleveland has the highest crime rate out of all England and Wales.

It’s safe to say that Cleveland ranks fairly high for all our examined crime categories, never ranking lower than fourth place. Indeed, Cleveland ranks highest in both shoplifting and criminal damage and arson, significantly exceeding the national average in both instances. It also ranks in second place for theft offences and drug offences, as well as third place for violence against the person and burglary.

2019 ranking: 4th place with 109.5

So, there you have it! Another year, another most dangerous areas ranking. Where did your home county rank?

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.


Churchill Support Services is a leading cross-industry corporate services company, supplying professional and comprehensive security solutions and electronic systems to businesses across the UK.

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.