One of England’s most iconic locales, the North West’s cultural and sporting importance belies its often diminutive size. With major cities like Manchester and Liverpool offering a sizeable slice of the region’s appeal, it’s often the small town charm and sweeping coastline vistas that draw in the crowds.
From Crosby’s enigmatic seaside statues to the infamous Illuminations at Blackpool, and the quaint cobblestone streets synonymous with the chocolate box villages of Cumbria and Cheshire, the patchwork landscape of the North West offers something to appeal to all walks and ways of life.
However, as with every region, there’s the ever-present risk of criminal behaviour. With such a diverse range of cities, towns and villages that punctuate the undulating hills of England’s north-western corner, there’s naturally areas that are safer than others, and that’s where Churchill Support Services can help.
We’ve listed out the 15 safest places in the North West, along with all the key statistics you need to know to make an informed decision on where to start your family or your business.
In the interests of clarity and providing an objective look at how crime stacks up across the region, we’ll be taking our data from the Police Data repository, alongside independent sites. This is then displayed as a ratio of the number of crimes per 1,000 people living in the area, taking the data from June 2022 to June 2023 (the latest set available).
Not only does this allow us to better “rank” the different areas across the region, it also means we’re able to account for different mitigating factors, such as the size of the town or the number of people that live there.
We’ve also opted to only include towns and cities with a population of over 20,000, according to the latest census data. The reasoning behind this is that we’re aiming to better provide you with an area to lay down roots, and areas of this size are generally more well-established than smaller or more remote locations.
Due to recent issues with reporting and IT infrastructure at Greater Manchester Police, the data on crimes and criminal behaviour in Manchester and across the wider city area isn’t guaranteed to be accurate.
We’ve used and extrapolated existing data from the government website, but there are naturally gaps or discrepancies in the information we’re able to find. While this doesn’t affect our rankings of the safest areas of the North West, it is worth noting. The affected areas include:
While our data shows that none of these regions appear in the safest places to live in the North West, it’s still important to note that this is a key determiner in how safe the region is, and can factor into where you decide to settle down, or set up your business.
A melting pot of culture, commerce and creativity, the North West plays host to some of the UK’s most visited cities and attractions. Shimmering seaside towns and cities give way to the major metropolises of Manchester and Liverpool, which between them see a staggering 150.5 million visitors each year.
This popularity and consistent stream of tourists, townspeople and travellers does unfortunately mean that the region sees its fair share of criminal activity, with the North West as a whole seeing a shocking 787,247 crimes in the last year, meaning a rate of 106.1 crimes per 1000 residents living in the area.
While that’s a more generalised overview, the North West actually encompasses 5 distinct regions, all of which have differing rates of crime and issues that their local police forces contend with. As a brief rundown, here are the North West’s areas and their associated crime rates:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the more dangerous areas in the North West are those in and around the region’s major cities. This matches closely with the findings of our recent exploration of crime stats in the North West, with Liverpool (140.7 crimes per 1000 people) and Manchester (180.7 crimes per 1000 people) seeing some of the more concerning figures in the region.
But what about the other side of the coin? Let’s explore the 15 safest areas across the North West, and how they stack up compared to the region as a whole.
We’ll take a look at each of the safest parts of the North West, and the statistics that make them stand head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to safety and security.
Famed for its illustrious rugby history, as well as its firm links to Cheshire’s place in the nationwide Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, Warrington has since developed its own strong sense of culture with sports, arts and music all contributing towards the town’s rich tapestry. Plus a crime rate of 80.2 crimes per 1000 residents means it earns a spot as one of the North West’s safest areas.
While much of the town’s statistics do lie above the Cheshire-wide average, including more prevalent issues like violent crime (6984 incidents) and antisocial behaviour (2179 incidents), its size and significant popularity area mean the issues are under good control with strong policing and local security services.
A quaint town that sits between the larger built-up areas of Preston and Wigan, Leyland is perhaps most known for its motor museum, which celebrates the region’s illustrious history with transportation and trucks. That keen sense of industry means the town is often considered one of safest areas in the North West, with a comparatively low rate of 79.3 crimes per 1000 residents.
While violent crime (1535 incidents) still poses a considerable issue, falling rates of vehicle crimes (113 incidents) and drug-related offences (41 incidents) are just a couple of the town’s success stories when it comes to safeguarding residents and businesses.
On the fringes of the Lake District, the market town of Kendal offers plenty to the discerning traveller, from its iconic mint cake to the award-winning Kendal Calling festival that takes over a swathe of countryside in early August. That appeal extends further, with the area seeing just 78.9 crimes per 1000 residents.
Of course, issues like violent crime (1093 offences) and antisocial behaviour (365 offences) still present an issue for security services in Kendal, but lower rates of robbery (5 offences) and vehicle crime (42 offences) are key indicators of the town’s continuing safety.
The subject of much regeneration over the last two decades, Halewood now represents much of what makes the Merseyside area an attractive prospect, coupling green spaces with plentiful opportunities and local industry. Alongside continued policing and security efforts, we’ve seen a much safer Halewood, with a crime rate of 75.9 crimes per 1000 residents.
Of course, while the statistics on crime speak for themselves with lower rates of violent crime (749 incidents) and public order offences (261 incidents), it’s the town’s continued redevelopment and focus on lowering crime further that makes it one of the safer areas of the North West.
One of the major retail hubs in West Lancashire, Skelmersdale has one of the proudest military histories across the North West, still upheld today by the town’s military cadets and corps. That sense of duty and obligation also ensures the town sees a low crime rate of just 69 crimes per 1000 people.
The more prevalent issues in Skelmersdale are predominantly the same as much of the UK, but the lower figures of violent crimes (1225 offences) and antisocial behaviour (960 offences) are all far below the Lancashire-wide average. There’s also much fewer instances of shoplifting (54 offences), sitting at 67% below the area’s average.
Just outside of Birkenhead on Merseyside’s Wirral peninsula, the rural town of Bebington is a relatively hidden gem that was recently named as one of the most desirable postcodes to live in. It’ll comes as no surprise, then, that Bebington sees one of the region’s lowest crime rates at 64.5 crimes per 1000 people.
In spite of the ever-present issue of violent crime (1667 incidents), there’s an across-the-board reduction in all types of crime when compared to previous years’ figures, with drug (73 incidents) and theft offences (16 incidents) sitting at more than 80% lower than the region-wide averages.
The subject of a much needed renovation project that took hold in the early 2000s, Rawtenstall has since flourished into the thoroughly modern township you see today. Despite straddling the border between the two historically unfriendly counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, Rawtenstall retains a low crime rate of 60.6 crimes per 1000 residents.
In terms of issues the town faces, there’s perhaps expectedly high figures of violent crime (717 offences) and antisocial behaviour (686 offences), but there’s also some of the lowest instances of theft from the person (3 offences) and bicycle theft (5 offences) across Lancashire.
A quaint town at Lancashire’s heart, the Bamber Bridge area offers arguably one of the more popular commuter regions, especially given its close motorway links, strong public transport network and proximity to the major city of Preston. Plus, with a low crime rate of 56.2 crimes per 1000 residents, it’s easy to recognise the appeal of Bamber Bridge.
Perhaps most surprising is the town’s low rate of theft from the person (11 incidents) which, alongside similarly low figures in common issues like criminal damage (507 incidents) and public order offences (257 incidents), ensures Bamber Bridge is one of the safest places to live and work in the North West.
Best known for its sweeping views of the Irish Sea, alongside the winding seaside avenues that take in the many amusement arcades and locally-run shops and market stalls, Cleveleys epitomises the classic British coastal experience. And with a low crime rate of only 53.5 crimes per 1000 residents, there’s far more than meets the eye when it comes to the town’s appeal.
Currently at it’s lowest crime levels in more than a decade, there’s much to celebrate when it comes to the safety of Cleveleys. The icing on the cake for this beachside gem is the low rates of crimes that often dominate the headlines country-wide, including dwindling figures across violent crime (292 offences) and antisocial behaviour (222 offences).
One of Merseyside’s most historic towns, Maghull has seen significant developments in recent years, both to its local economy and its homes. Now a quaint settlement that offers luxuriant housing for commuters to Liverpool and other neighbouring cities and towns, Maghull’s crime rate of 52.7 crimes per 1000 residents may come as no surprise.
Of course, there are still issues, but they’re much less prevalent, with comparatively lower figures across both violent crime (476 incidents) and public order offences (166 incidents). There’s also a staggeringly low amount of instances of theft from the person (3 incidents), which is more than 90% safer than the rest of Merseyside.
One of the more affluent areas of what’s arguably one of the more famously affluent counties of Cheshire, Wilmslow offers a picturesque slice of the British countryside. Combining winding country roads with beautiful period architecture, Wilmslow also offers a more sedate pace of life, best exemplified by the low crime rate of 50.6 crimes per 1000 people, or around 1 in 20.
Wilmslow does, of course, faces issues all its own, with the rate of robbery (10 incidents) being more than 30% higher than the regional average. That’s counterbalanced by drastically lower rates of the more prominent crime types, with violent crimes (595 incidents) and criminal damage (104 incidents) being more than 30% below the Cheshire average.
Perhaps most known for its multiple golf courses that overlook the rugged Fylde coastline, alongside its popular Lowther Pavilion, Lytham and its associated St Annes, Ansdell and Fairhaven offers one of the quaintest towns across the North West coast. That’s best reflected in the exceptionally low crime rate of 50.1 crimes per 1000 residents, making it one of the safest areas in the North West.
While there’s high figures in both violent crime (1062 offences) and antisocial behaviour (1034 offences), they both fall far below the regional average. Plus, low rates of weapon possession (19 offences) and robbery (15 offences) ensure that Lytham represents one of the safest areas for anyone looking to settle in the North West.
Synonymous with the wealth of Liverpool’s elite, as well as the red squirrel sanctuary on the town’s sandy coastline, Formby has long-since proved a popular option for both its affluent residents, and sightseers looking to explore a secluded corner of Merseyside. And with the 3rd lowest crime rate across the North West at 49.2 crimes per 1000 residents, it’s easy to understand the area’s appeal.
All of Formby’s levels of crime fall far below the county’s average, with notably low numbers across violent crime (465 incidents), antisocial behaviour (180 incidents) and public order offences (166 offences). There’s also a much lower rate of theft from the person (7 incidents), which is more than 80% lower than Merseyside’s average.
One of the most community-driven areas of Lancashire, and a relatively overlooked town in what’s already a bustling county, Penwortham prides itself on preserving a small-town lifestyle. It’s this quaint outlook that means Penwortham narrowly misses out on being the safest area in the North West, with a low crime rate of just 44 crimes per 1000 residents.
Both of Lancashire’s most common crimes are much lower in Penwortham, with just 529 violent offences and 376 antisocial behaviour offences over the last year. That also comes alongside a surprisingly low rate of shoplifting (25 offences), despite Penwortham’s bustling retail opportunities.
Officially the safest area to live and work in the North West, Ormskirk epitomises the small-town atmosphere that’s prevalent across rural Merseyside, with a strong sense of the agriculture and local industry that catapulted the region to its more modern successes. Plus, the area’s crime rate of just 40.2 crimes per 1000 residents further cements its popularity.
As you’d expect from the North West’s safest town, there’s low figures across all of the issues that plague the UK, including antisocial behaviour (613 incidents), violent crime (502 incidents), and criminal damage (128 incidents). Plus, there was just 2 incidents of robbery recorded over the last year – more than 85% lower than the Merseyside average.