The 15 Most Dangerous Areas In Cardiff

Deciding on the right area for you is a huge consideration, and one that many deliberate over for months and even years at a time. For good reason, of course – the place you choose to settle down or set up a business plays an unprecedented role in determining your successes and your shortcomings, as well as ultimately how happy you are.

That’s especially true of the Welsh capital Cardiff, which offers one of the UK’s most diverse and interesting landscapes. From its quaintly cobbled centre that pulses around the iconic castle, to the suburbs and outskirts that give way to Wales’ infamous rolling valleys, Cardiff is a strong contender for those seeking a new place to call home.

However, there are a few key pointers to consider, with the chief among these being the Welsh capital’s crime rate. Here at Churchill Support Services, we’ve long been committed to safety, exemplified by both our industry-leading security services and our reports on key crime rates across England and Wales and London’s most dangerous areas, amongst many others.

With our latest piece, we’ll be focusing on the most dangerous areas in Cardiff, exploring both the figures that highlight the issues those regions face, and advice on how you can stay safe in the Welsh capital.


What Is Cardiff’s Overall Crime Rate?

While often overlooked in favour of London, the Welsh capital of Cardiff is less of a hidden gem and more of an unsung hero. Constructed around its 2000-year-old castle that’s been painstakingly preserved, the city has experienced a steady rise to its stardom, developing a flourishing economy and a vibrant nightlife in that time.

It’s a city with draws for those from all walks of life, with the city’s stellar educational options offering a haven for students, and its keen sense of arts and culture weaving a rich tapestry of both Welsh and international history. In spite of those draws, however, the city hides a concerning crime rate beneath a glittering exterior.

With a concerning crime rate of 104 crimes per 1000 residents, or a shade above 1 crime per 10 people living in the city, it’s clear there’s pressing concerns for residents and businesses Cardiff-wide. Of the 36,838 incidents committed across the Welsh capital over the last year, 34% of those were violent crimes (12,451 incidents).

There’s equally warranted worries surrounding high rates of both antisocial behaviour (5968 incidents) and public order offences (4368 incidents), as well as a rate of bicycle theft (1284 incidents) that’s more than 30% higher than the average for the South Glamorgan area.

That’s not to say every area of Wales’ capital experiences the same issues – far from it. Let’s look in more depth at the most dangerous areas of Cardiff, and the unique issues they face.


The Top 15 Most Dangerous Areas In Cardiff

We’ll break down the 15 most dangerous areas in Cardiff, including the key statistics that earn them a less-than-desirable spot on our list.

15. Penylan

Overall Crime Rate Of 106.9 Crimes Per 1000 People

Renowned for its affluency and the tree-lined avenues that punctuate this market district of the Welsh capital, Penylan couples Edwardian architecture with the modern trappings you’d expect of a major city area. However, with a crime rate that’s above the city-wide average at 106.9 crimes per 1000 residents, that blend hides a worrying truth.

The main cause for concern is a rising rate of violent crime (302 offences), which accounts for more than 1 in every 5 incidents in the area. That’s coupled with soaring numbers across vehicle crime (207 offences) and shoplifting (180 offences), both of which have been consistent issues over the last decade.


14.  Trowbridge & St Mellons

Overall Crime Rate Of 110.7 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of Cardiff’s more residential areas, and a key commuter hub for the city centre at large, the district of Trowbridge and St Mellons seamlessly blends the rurality of the Welsh countryside with the hustle and bustle of effervescent city life. The region’s crime rate of 110.7 crimes per 1000 residents does undermine that status, though.

Violent crime (676 offences) is by far the biggest issue facing residents, accounting for more than 35% of all criminal activity in the region. That’s in addition to equally worrying figures across antisocial behaviour (302 offences) and criminal damage (220 offences).


13. Llanishen

Overall Crime Rate Of 112.9 Crimes Per 1000 People

A leafy suburb towards Cardiff’s northernmost reaches, and perhaps best known for the towering government buildings that dominate the skyline, Llanishen’s luscious surroundings and quaint streets belie the concerning crime rate of 112.9 crimes per 1000 residents.

Digging deeper into that startling statistic, we find that violent crime (363 offences) and antisocial behaviour (216 offences) are the major concerns, accounting for some 49% of the 1,176 offences from the last year. Plus, with figures continually exceeding last year’s averages, those concerns for security in Llanishen are only set to grow.


12. Fairwater

Overall Crime Rate Of 123.7 Crimes Per 1000 People

Famed for its Tudor fronted shopping areas, Fairwater retains a keen sense of what many consider to be traditional Wales, tying together a close-compacted residential area on the outskirts of the bustling Cardiff city centre with the serenity of the Welsh countryside. Beneath the surface, however, lurks a crime rate of 123.7 crimes per 1000 residents.

The major concern for those living in Fairwater is violent crime (551 incidents), which is one of the major causes of Fairwater’s highest rate of crime in over 3 years. Those concerning figures come alongside equally worrying numbers in antisocial behaviour (316 incidents), public order offences (190 incidents) and criminal damage (142 incidents).


11. Llanrumney

Overall Crime Rate Of 124.4 Crimes Per 1000 People

A hub for sport and culture across Cardiff’s eastern reaches, Llanrumney has a surprisingly storied history that dates back to the 13th Century. Of course, the region has made significant strides since then, and an unfortunate side effect of that is the rising rate of crime, which sits at 124.4 crimes per 1000 residents.

The headlines are often dominated by the high rates of both violent crime (497 offences) and antisocial behaviour (273 offences), which together make up more than 50% of all criminal activity in Llanrumney, alongside an equally worrying rate of shoplifting (118 offences).


10. Llandaff & Llandaff North

Overall Crime Rate Of 130.8 Crimes Per 1000 People

An integral part of northern Cardiff, and a former prominent religious site for Wales as a whole, the district of Llandaff (and the quaint Llandaff North) have retained that sense of piety with the region’s towering cathedral spires. That calm exterior means the area’s soaring crime rate of 130.8 crimes per 1000 residents comes as a huge shock.

Llandaff’s main issue lies in its rising figures across both violent crime (385 offences) and shoplifting (204 offences), which account for 43% of all crime across Llandaff. These alarming numbers have meant that 2023 saw some of the highest crime figures on record, with July – September seeing a rise of more than 28%.


9. Grangetown

Overall Crime Rate Of 136.2 Crimes Per 1000 People

Beribboned by the River Taff, and just a stone’s throw away from Cardiff’s iconic Bay area, the district of Grangetown is one of the Welsh’s capital most diverse, as well as one of its more built up, hosting a substantial amount of the city’s total population. That diversity is undercut by a worrying crime rate, however, which currently sits at 136.2 crimes per 1000 residents.

The major issue lies in the rising number of violent crimes (776 incidents), which is among the highest we’ve seen so far in our rankings of the most dangerous areas in Cardiff. Couple that with similarly startling figures in both shoplifting (362 incidents) and antisocial behaviour (356 incidents), and it’s easy to see how Grangetown earns its place on the list.


8. Ely

Overall Crime Rate Of 140.3 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of Cardiff’s more rapidly expanding residential areas, Ely’s reputation for criminal activity and less-than-desirable living conditions mean it’s no perhaps no surprise that the region makes our list of Cardiff’s most dangerous areas. However, with a crime rate of 140.3 crimes per 1000 residents, just how bad Ely is may come as a shock.

With headlines often being made for all the wrong reasons, it won’t come as a shock to see that Ely’s rates of both violent crime (891 offences) and antisocial behaviour (374 offences) are among the highest we’ve seen so far, as well as a soaring rate of criminal damage (261 offences).


7. Splott

Overall Crime Rate Of 155.5 Crimes Per 1000 People

Synonymous with its market that has city-wide renown and popularity, Splott seamlessly couple that reputation for retail with both a keen sense of preservation in its green spaces, and a community spirit in its residential areas. That reputation is undercut, however, by a climbing rate of crime, which sits at a shocking 155.5 crimes per 1000 residents.

Worryingly, it’s violent crime (673 incidents) that makes up the lion’s share of all crime in the area, accounting for 30% (or 1 in every 3) of crime in Splott. That’s in conjunction with high figures across antisocial behaviour (324 incidents), vehicle crime (287 incidents), and public order offences (233 incidents).


6. Plasnewydd

Overall Crime Rate Of 157.6 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of the more built up residential areas in Cardiff’s city centre, Plasnewydd has become extremely popular with students given its close proximity to the city’s universities and its burgeoning nightlife options. However, densely packed housing often leads to issues, and Plasnewydd is no different, seeing a soaring crime rate of 157.6 crimes per 1000 residents.

Violent crime (664 offences) is the main issue for residents in Plasnewydd, alongside an equally concerning rate of antisocial behaviour (398 offences), which together make up more than 39% of all crime across the region. That’s in addition to one of the highest rates of vehicle crime (298 offences) across the whole of Cardiff.


5. Caerau

Overall Crime Rate Of 170.8 Crimes Per 1000 People

A prevalent part of western Cardiff, and one of its more vibrant, self-sufficient communities, Caerau is one of Cardiff’s more populous areas, with much of the landscape dotted with housing, schools and local amenities. In spite of that community feel, however, there’s a clear issue with criminal activity, with the crime rate at an alarming 170.8 crimes per 1000 residents.

The two main contributors to that rate – violent crimes (731 incidents) and antisocial behaviour (362 incidents) account for more than 54% of all crime in the area, and often dominate local headlines. When those are coupled with equally concerning numbers in public order offences (225 incidents) and criminal damage (219 incidents), the issues in Caerau are all too apparent.


4. Riverside & Pontcanna

Overall Crime Rate Of 187.2 Crimes Per 1000 People

A combination of two of Cardiff’s more prominent inner-city districts, blending together the architecture and artistry the city’s become known for with spacious, tree-lined avenues. Riverside and its neighbouring Pontcanna are what many picture when imagining Cardiff, but that glamour is ruined by a rising rate of crime – 187.2 crimes per 1000 residents, to be exact.

As we’ve seen with many of the entries on our list of the most dangerous areas in Cardiff, violent crime (725 incidents), antisocial behaviour (313 incidents) and public order offences (300 incidents) are the region’s most prominent issues, accounting for more than 50% of Riverside and Pontcanna’s crime figures.


3. Adamsdown

Overall Crime Rate Of 255.3 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of Cardiff’s more popular student districts, and home to much of the city’s justice system in its prison and magistrate’s court, it may not come as a shock to see Adamsdown in the third spot on our ranking of the most dangerous areas in Cardiff. However, the truth of the matter is far more alarming, with the region seeing a whopping 255.3 crimes per 1000 residents, or 1 crime for every 4 people.

Looking more closely, we find that the major concern arises from rising numbers in both violent crime (755 offences) and antisocial behaviour (408 offences). Perhaps just as concerning for the area’s many businesses, however, is Adamsdown’s figures in shoplifting (377 offences), which are among the highest outside the city centre itself.

2. Butetown

Overall Crime Rate Of 277.8 Crimes Per 1000 People

Home to the city’s iconic Bay area, offering sweeping vistas across the ocean from some of Cardiff’s more scenic wetlands and park areas, as well as the trailhead that connects Bute to Penarth. Synonymous with serenity, it’ll come as a shock to many to see Butetown so high on this list of Cardiff’s most dangerous areas, with a crime rate of 277.8 crimes per 1000 residents.

Violent crime (803 incidents) and antisocial behaviour (686 incidents) are the most prevalent problems for Butetown’s residents, both of which have contributed towards 2023 being one of the region’s worst yet for crime. There’s also growing concern for the region’s rate of shoplifting (311 incidents) and drug offences (164 incidents).


1. Cathays

Overall Crime Rate Of 351.8 Crimes Per 1000 People

Officially the most dangerous area in Cardiff, Cathays is also arguably its most popular. Encompassing the city centre and the eponymous castle, it’s a vibrant metropolis that’s seen exponential growth in recent years. From its thriving retail opportunities, to the museums and attractions that celebrate the rich Welsh culture, Cathays has much to warrant its massive appeal to tourists and residents alike.

However, that huge level of attraction masks Cardiff’s most pressing concerns in terms of crime. With crime figures that are more than double the next highest region of the city (7676 total offences), Cathays has a worryingly wide array of issues for residents to contend with.

Soaring rates in both violent crime (2032 offences) and shoplifting (1448 offences) have seen the district’s crime rates reach unprecedented highs, with October of 2023 alone seeing a shocking 842 offences. There’s also startling rates of antisocial behaviour (841 offences), criminal damage (468 offences) and vehicle crime (412 offences).


How We Sourced Our Crime Data For Cardiff

In the interests of clarity, transparency and impartiality, we’ve opted to use the official South Wales Police data, alongside independent data and resources, to give a clear indicator of the most dangerous areas in Cardiff.

We’ve then broken this down by council wards and the city’s regions so as to give residents, businesses and visitors a clear indicator of where the safer areas are, as well as where to avoid. This is displayed as a ratio of crimes per 1000 people living in the area, which allows us to account for key variables like population, density and commuter activity.

Emily Macaulay

Director of Sales

Emily is responsible for business growth and account development via new sales. She leads the Business Development teams through strategic goals and objectives in line with business targets and strategy. Emily is a friendly, approachable and a respected senior manager at Churchill who always strives to deliver service excellence.