The 15 Most Dangerous Areas In Eastern England

From buying a first home or starting a new business, right through to retirement plans, the area we choose is integral to how comfortable we feel as we progress through our lives. While many choose to stay in the same area, many more opt to move to an entirely new one,  and therein lies further questions.

The chief among these is how safe your chosen area is. An age-old concern, crime rates and criminality are crucial in choosing the right area for you, your family, or your fledgling enterprise. This is where Churchill Support Services truly excel.

With our renowned reports on crime rates across the UK, we’re committed to transparency, clarity and thoroughness in all we do. From our pioneering studies into London’s crime hotspots, to our in-depth analysis of the UK’s safest areas, we’re industry leaders in all that we do to keep the country secure.

In our latest article, we’ll explore the most dangerous areas across the East of England. We’ll break down the key issues facing those regions, what makes them so undesirable, and what you can do to ensure you’re safe wherever you choose to live.


How Dangerous Is Eastern England?

Closely tied with the infamous counties of Essex and Norfolk, as well as some of the most sweeping views and coastlines we have to offer on the British Isles, the East of England offers a diverse landscape that’s long appealed to those from all walks of life.

From its long-standing bastion for education and culture in Cambridge University, to the hives of hedonism on its rugged coastlines, there’s much to bring people to this vibrant corner of the country. Couple that with some of the fastest growing cities countrywide in places like Luton and Norwich, and it’s clear to see where the appeal of East England arises from.

That’s further reflected by an overall crime rate of 72.8 crimes per 1000 people living in the area, which is lower than all other areas of the UK (with the exception of the South West, which sits at 68.4 crimes per 1000 people), and saw a substantial reduction of 4% when compared to the figures from 2022.

However, that’s not to say there’s no cause for concern for those living in the East of England. There’s still work to be done around substantial figures in violent crime (180,863 offences), theft (146,245 offences) and criminal damage (44,646 offences), alongside a rate of shoplifting (37,174 offences) that’s risen by a shocking 26% over last year’s figures.

Of course, these numbers – as startling as they are – don’t necessarily reflect the whole of the East of England. In fact, while many of the most dangerous areas in East England have similar issues, there’s varying degrees of severity and concern, as well as unique issues across the different locales.

Let’s break down Eastern England’s most dangerous areas, and what they mean for the choices you make for the future.


The 15 Most Dangerous In The East Of England

We’ll be deep diving into 15 of the most dangerous areas across the East of England, the issues they face, and exactly what makes them a less-than-ideal choice if you’re looking to move into the area.


15. Wymondham

Overall Crime Rate Of 104.7 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of Norfolk’s more leafy suburban commuter towns, Wymondham’s popularity stems from its close proximity to major cities both in and outside of the county. However, that appeal masks a shocking crime rate of 104.7 crimes per 1000 residents that sees Wymondham sneak into the most dangerous areas in the East of England.

There’s rising levels of concern surrounding the rates of both violent crime (659 incidents) and antisocial behaviour (182 incidents), which together account for more than 55% of all crime across the Wymondham area. That’s alongside a rising crime rate that’s seen some of the highest figures in crime across the town’s history, increasing by 24% compared to 2022’s statistics.


14. Cambridge

Overall Crime Rate Of 106.4 Crimes Per 1000 People

Most closely associated with its infamous university and the iconic rivalry with the neighbouring Oxford, Cambridge has a long-established reputation for its close ties to high society and the wealthy elite. It’s also got a lesser-known but no less infamous rate of crime (106.4 crimes per 1000 residents), which earns it a spot amongst East England’s most dangerous areas.

Violent crime (4570 offences) is the most prevalent issue in Cambridge, accounting for just shy of 30% of all crime in the city. There’s also mounting concerns surrounding a rate of bicycle theft (1276 offences) that’s more than 3 times the regional average, and equally concerning figures in shoplifting (2250 offences) that are more than twice the county average.


13. Wisbech

Overall Crime Rate Of 107.2 Crimes Per 1000 People

Perched upon the edges of the Cambridgeshire fens, Wisbech has one of the more storied histories of the towns that dot the county’s leafy esplanades and winding roads. Dating back as far as the 7th century, it’s Wisbech’s more recent history that’s meant the crime rate has steadily risen to a startling 107.2 crimes per 1000 residents.

With violent crime (1851 incidents), antisocial behaviour (713 incidents) and theft (504 incidents) all seeing significant increases over the statistics we saw for previous years, it’s no surprise to see Wisbech feature so highly on our rankings of the most dangerous areas across East England. That’s coupled with a rate of drug crime (110 incidents) which is far above what we’d expect from a town of just 31,000 residents.


12. Thetford

Overall Crime Rate Of 109.7 Crimes Per 1000 People

Thetford is a town of two halves, juxtaposing the forests on its western side against the more built-up urban to the east, and providing some of the more naturally preserved landscapes of Norfolk. In spite of that natural splendour, however, Thetford’s crime rate undercuts it significantly, coming in at 109.7 crimes per 1000 residents.

A staggering 2 in every 5 crimes committed in Thetford are violent offences (1280 incidents). That’s alongside concerning statistics across antisocial behaviour (453 incidents), criminal damage (337 incidents) and public order offences (234 incidents) which further reinforce the need for effective security and law enforcement in Thetford.


11. Southend-on-Sea

Overall Crime Rate Of 110.9 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of the country’s premier seaside destinations, and often synonymous with its sprawling pier and vibrant culture and events scene, Southend has a reputation that often precedes it, particularly as a holiday destination. It also has a less-than-savoury reputation for criminal activity, especially given its overall crime rate of 110.9 crimes per 1000 residents.

Of the shocking 17,772 crimes committed over the course of 2023, more than 40% were classified as violent crimes (8125 incidents), with a further 18% accounted for by the rising rates of both public order offences (1610 incidents) and antisocial behaviour (1593 incidents). There’s also mounting concern around the rate of robbery (273 incidents) which is more than twice the regional average.


10. Sudbury

Overall Crime Rate Of 114.1 Crimes Per 1000 People

An unassuming market town nestled at the fringes of its county Suffolk, Sudbury is likely to be a surprise inclusion on the list of the most dangerous areas in the East of England, especially so high up. However, with a crime rate of 114.1 crimes per 1000 residents, the town’s diminutive size belies what’s clearly a major issue with crime.

The chief problem lies in soaring numbers of violent crimes (575 offences), accounting for more than a third of all crime in the Sudbury area. That’s accompanied by equally concerning numbers across antisocial behaviour (222 offences), shoplifting (141 offences) and criminal damage (124 offences), all of which have risen when we look to compare to last year’s statistics.


9. Waltham Abbey

Overall Crime Rate Of 117.2 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of the more historic corners of Essex, Waltham Abbey’s Tudor-fronted buildings and eponymous abbey can only do so much to veil the town’s soaring figures in criminal activity. With an overall crime rate of 117.2 crimes per 1000 residents, and 2185 criminal offences in 2023 alone, there’s understandable concern from residents and visitors alike.

Violent crime (726 offences) is the major concern for those living and working in the town, accounting for 1 in every 3 crimes committed in Waltham Abbey. There’s also concern for the amount of vehicle crimes (333 offences), which is among the highest across the whole of Essex, alongside a concerning concentration of antisocial behaviour (244 offences).


8. King’s Lynn

Overall Crime Rate Of 123.1 Crimes Per 1000 People

A hub for Norfolk’s fishing and seafood communities, and a burgeoning port town for the county and the country as a whole, King’s Lynn has experienced substantial growth in recent years, attracting growing crowds and new visitors year on year. That surge in popularity has sadly brought with it a surging crime rate, which reached a new high of 123.1 crimes per 1000 residents.

There’s concerted efforts to combat the rising tides of both violent crime (2510 incidents) and antisocial behaviour (719 incidents), which are substantially higher than the region-wide average. It’s shoplifting (649 incidents), however, that’s making the headlines, with a rate that’s more than 3 times higher than the average figures for the county.


7. Huntingdon

Overall Crime Rate Of 126.6 Crimes Per 1000 People

Famed for its connections to Roman history, and to the early civil wars of Britain with Oliver Cromwell and the murmurings of political change in the 17th century, Huntingdon has since modernised, and now acts as a beacon for culture in the Cambridgeshire area. That appeal is sullied, however, by a rate of crime that’s 57% higher than the overall rate, at 126.6 crimes per 1000 residents.

As with many areas across the East of England, and the UK as a whole, violet crime (1085 incidents) is the most prevalent issue, accounting for a shocking 35% of all crime in the Huntingdon area. The rates of both antisocial behaviour (495 incidents) and public order offences (289 incidents) are equally concerning, while the figures in drug crime (126 incidents) are more than double the regional average.


6. Great Yarmouth

Overall Crime Rate Of 129.2 Crimes Per 1000 People

Most closely associated with sweeping sea views, coastal hideaways and a reputation for seaside resorts that’s been established for more than 250 years, Great Yarmouth has a reputation that’s far bigger than the town itself. That reputation encompasses both the good and the bad, with a soaring crime rate of 129.2 crimes per 1000 residents that often dominates local headlines.

Great Yarmouth’s main issues lie in soaring numbers of both violent crimes (3887 offences) and antisocial behaviour (1382 offences), both of which are more than double the average for Norfolk as a whole. There’s also concerns surrounding the statistics of weapon possession crimes (122 offences) which have only seen year-on-year rises.


5. Harwich

Overall Crime Rate Of 130.6 Crimes Per 1000 People

A seafaring town with a proud nautical history that’s still front- and centre in its hugely popular Sea Shanty festival, Harwich’s position at fifth in the list of the most dangerous areas in East England is one of the biggest surprises. However, with a rate of crime that’s still climbing even at 130.6 crimes per 1000 residents, that place in the list is more than warranted.

Exponential rates in some of the worst issues facing the UK are major problems for Harwich residents. Violent crime (1489 incidents), antisocial behaviour (292 incidents) and criminal damage (289 incidents) are all much higher than the regional average, with April of 2023 seeing some of Harwood’s worst statistics for crime in recent memory.


4. Borehamwood

Overall Crime Rate Of 131.9 Crimes Per 1000 People

With strong ties to the British filmmaking industry, and a hub for commuters looking to travel into the capital, it’s perhaps disheartening to see Borehamwood rank so highly on a list of Eastern England’s most dangerous areas. But with a startling crime rate of 131.9 crimes per 1000 residents that’s only set to rise further, it’s a welcome warning for those considering the area.

Antisocial behaviour (1189 offences) and violent crime (1186 offences) are the major concerns for the town, making up a staggering 49% of all crime across the Borehamwood and Elstree area. Plus, the area saw a marked increase in the rates of both shoplifting (469 offences) and vehicle crimes (393 offences) in the early part of 2024, signalling a turbulent year ahead for crime in Borehamwood.


3. Harlow

Overall Crime Rate Of 134.1 Crimes Per 1000 People

Central to the British sculpture scene with its impressive public collection, and one of the hubs for renovation across Essex as a whole, Harlow seamlessly blends greenery and natural beauty with cutting-edge modernity. There’s a sour note in the town’s crime rate, however, which sits at 134.1 crimes per 1000 residents.

The main cause for concern among Harlow residents and businesses alike stems from a rate of violent crime (4475 incidents) that’s not only 50% higher than the average for the county, but that accounts for 2 in every 5 criminal offences in the town. That’s alongside spiralling numbers across vehicle crimes (1242 incidents), public order offences (955 incidents) and antisocial behaviour (949 incidents).


2. Clacton-on-Sea

Overall Crime Rate Of 141.9 Crimes Per 1000 People

One of Eastern England’s premier coastal destinations, and held dear for the role it played in the childhoods of so many in the East of England, Clacton-on-Sea’s sweeping views of the North Sea and shale beaches are undercut substantially by a crime rate that belies its appeal, which sits at a horrifying 141.9 crimes per 1000 residents.

With steadily increasing figures across two major points of concern – violent crimes (3007 offences) and antisocial behaviour (571 offences) – and some of the highest crime statistics the town has seen in recent years, it’s clear that there’s much work to be done in this beloved seaside destination. There’s also mounting concern for a rate of drug crime (207 offences) that’s more than 60% higher than the Essex average.


1. Maldon

Overall Crime Rate Of 144.7 Crimes Per 1000 People

Famed for its iconic and highly sought-after sea salt, it’s perhaps a shock to see the small seaside town of Maldon rank at number 1 on our report of the most dangerous areas of Eastern England. With a population of just under 15,000, and a highly popular tourist scene, the crime rate far outstrips any similar areas, coming in at an alarming 144.7 crimes per 1000 residents.

Violent crimes (894 incidents) were the most prevalent problem for Maldon’s locals, accounting for just over 43% of the total crimes in Maldon for 2023 (2057 incidents). That comes in addition to equally worrying levels of theft (296 incidents), criminal damage (142 incidents) and public order offences (140 incidents).


How Have Churchill Sourced Their Data?

In the interests of clarity and transparency for all the data we report on, we’ve used the latest figures from the Police UK website, covering February 2023 through to January 2024. We’ve then used the latest Census data from the ONS to correctly determine population, and to properly represent how dangerous that area of East England is.

We’ve then displayed this as a ratio of the number of crimes per 1000 people living in that area. This allows us to not only display the information in an easily accessible format, but also to account for any key variables like population or area size.

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.