Home » London News

Which are the safest areas or boroughs of London?

BY Boon Koh
Published 1 August 2009

London Metropolitan Police Car Having decided to move house to a new area of London soon, one of the first questions that came to mind was what was the crime rate and safety record of certain areas. So far, I’ve had a vague perception that crime was “rampant” in Brixton and generally higher South of the river and in East London compared to West and South West London. But what were the actual figures? Where was the London Metropolitan Police the most effective or worst performing? Where can I walk the streets at 2am in the morning and still feel safe and not get mugged or stabbed? After searching for a while on the internet, I came across a crime mapping database that contained statistics from 2007-2008. After a bit of filtering and exporting the data to Excel, I managed to draw a few conclusions:

1) Anything close to London zone 1 seems amazingly dangerous. All the safest London boroughs were far away from the center, with Richmond upon Thames, Kingston upon Thames, Sutton, Havering, and Bexley all consistently with the lowest rates across the major crime categories.

2) The worst boroughs were located generally East of central London, with Hackney, Southwark, and Greenwich featuring prominently. Surprisingly, the City of Westminster appeared a few times in the top 10 worst crime areas, but it is probably due to the fact that there are very few inhabitants and many crimes committed by people coming in from outside the borough.

3) “Rich” South West areas like Kensington & Chelsea as well as Hammersmith & Fulham appear in a few of the top 10 worst lists, which was a shocker given their astronomical house prices.

In any case, the studies have shown that within London zones 1-3, crime rate is higher than out in the suburbs, with very few exceptions like Camden which seems to be the “safest” out of all the central London areas. If you can’t bear to move all the way out to like Kingston but still want safety, areas like Wandsworth, Waltham Forest, Hounslow, and Ealing are close enough to London and are pretty safe at the same time. So next time the estate agent or lettings agent tries to exaggerate the safety of a particular area, you can go find the real facts for yourself!

Hope this helps those trying to decide where to house-hunt! I’ve taken the effort to recreate some of the top 10 highest and lowest lists below for readers of the The London Insider:

London Boroughs with the lowest overall crime rate (per 1,000 population) in 2007/2008:

  • Sutton
  • Richmond upon Thames
  • Harrow
  • Kingston upon Thames
  • Havering
  • Bexley
  • Bromley
  • Merton
  • Barnet
  • Enfield
  • Redbridge

Boroughs with the highest overall crime rate in 2007/2008:

  • City of Westminster
  • Hackney
  • Southwark
  • Islington
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Lambeth
  • Greenwich
  • Newham
  • Hammersmith & Fulham
  • Lewisham

Boroughs with the lowest overall robbery & burglary rate in 2007/2008:

  • Kingston upon Thames
  • Sutton
  • Merton
  • Havering
  • Bexley
  • Richmond upon Thames
  • Barking & Dagenham
  • Harrow
  • Kensington & Chelsea
  • Bromley

Boroughs with the highest overall robbery & burglary rate in 2007/2008:

  • Islington
  • Southwark
  • Haringey
  • Camden
  • City of Westminster
  • Lambeth
  • Newham
  • Greenwich
  • Brent
  • Hammersmith & Fulham

Boroughs with the lowest violent & sexual crime rate in 2007/2008:

  • Richmond upon Thames
  • Harrow
  • Havering
  • Sutton
  • Bexley
  • Enfield
  • Barnet
  • Kingston upon Thames
  • Redbridge
  • Bromley

Boroughs with the highest violent & sexual crime rate in 2007/2008:

  • City of Westminster
  • Hackney
  • Southwark
  • Lewisham
  • Greenwich
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Newham
  • Barking & Dagenham
  • Hammersmith & Fulham
  • Islington

  • alvin

    Well, I find it quite useful. I was looking for a house in stockwell today, which is pretty close to Brixton (the accepted dodgy area), but the place seems quite safe with mothers walking their children all around…

  • Joanna newsom

    I live in the city of westminster
    SW1W 9EA and very few things happen if not nothing
    I am astounded at these statistics

  • Ray

    Looking at buying in Mottingham SE9 Please could you advise on Crime rates in this area.

  • lucy

    Good research, however the data you present is out of date, I know this how it is always collated. Crime fluctuates every year, and the data is quite often unrealiable, so it is estimated mostly. Also where crime is identified it is usually driven out of one area then tends to move to another area. How do I know this – well I sit on our local area safer neighbourhood police panel where residents get to set the policing priorities in our area with the police. We get to know what types of crimes are committed locally, examine the local data sets, and discuss how it is being prevented. You can move to whatever area you like in London, but you will never escape crime, nothing prevents criminals entering into a so called ‘nice, safe neighbourhoods’ on a crime spree. Besides it is the people I would want to know more about before moving into a new area, the level of community spirit as well as friendliness of neighbourhood is more important to me. Also, what the schools,colleges, and university is like if you are interested in education.

  • RealG

    This is all wrong

  • chazzie SE20

    This has got to be wrong…..

    Bromley is oe of the worst boroughs at the moment! you cant een walk around at night without getting aproached in places like Penge! and also te person who was thinking of moving to mottingham SE9, some parts can be very nice but most of it is full of council estates with a big minority of racist white groups.

  • Andyj

    chazzie SE20 said:
    “……. was thinking of moving to mottingham SE9, some parts can be very nice but most of it is full of council estates with a big minority of racist white groups.”

    So crime is low there.

    Who would of thought?

  • MK

    I have lived in different parts of London over last few years … spent a few weeks in Harrow and found it quite nice area & safe area .. Walthamstow, I remember once confronting a thief in our backyard we always avoided going out alone at night … then Leyton/Leytonstone not better than Walthamstow …

    Now having spent over 5 years in Upper Holloway, due to close proximity to Hackney & Finsbury park people don’t like the area but IMO its very lovely & safe area, we go out any time we like whether to get some thing to eat or take a walk.

  • http://www.london-insider.co.uk The London Insider

    Hi MK! I live near Holloway… well, just minutes from the Holloway Road station. Heard it was a bit dodgy too before I moved here two years ago, but since then haven’t had any problems, although occassionally there are some drunks singing in the streets at night and dog owners not scooping the poops off the pavements. But overall, I actually find it safer than the area around Highbury station, where I often see gangs of no-good youths hanging around with their bikes and dogs.

  • mira

    Hi,

    Well, I live in London for 2,5 year now, started in North Acton which seemed quiet, then Wood Green/Turnpike lane -which is close to Haringey which is really not that safe I think- I’m a young woman and often walk home late night from work and happened many times that guys tried to have a chat with me or asked for my number but nothing else. And I lived in Wood Green for a year.. Then moved to Leytonstone which is not that good either but nothing happened ever.. But last August I moved to Camberwell, actually it’s about halfway on the main road -Walworth road- btw Elephant n Castle and Camberwell. Since last August at least 4 times a week I walked home through 2 short streets 3-5 mins walk off the main road.. And 3 weeks ago a guy assaulted me late night on my way home from work. Since then I feel insecure and I just can’t walk by myself on those streets. I live here for more than 2 years and nothing happened to me till now although I lived in bad areas so my opinion is things can happen anytime and anywhere.

  • D_SMITH

    I have lived in Islington for 25yrs, and have never been a victim of crime.
    I grew up around some of the roughest places within Islington, and although I witnessed crime, I dont think Islington has a particulary high crime rate. I think that London is made up of certain groups of people, and  a mix of culture produces crime. 
    I work in Walworth (Elephant & Castle) which i feel is a lot less safe then any other part of London.
    Places where crime is the highest, are the places with less entertainment.
    If London enusred there was enough going on, such as more entertainment facilities and stuff for young people to do, or if they increased street parole officers, or if people were given “after hours” free travel then I think crime would dramatically decrease.
    Kids then wouldnt feel the need to be walking around the street looking for things to do and attacking people for fun “happy slapping” for example. It would also prevent young men and women walking home from nights out, because they spent their bus fare, preventing them from being victims of muggings and sexual assault. If people in London werent so quick to promote their designer goods or plasma teles then their houses wouldnt be robbed. Keep your stuff to yourself and KEEP VIGILANT!!!

  • Yas

    I disagree,with Greenwich being one of the highest.I have lived in the Greenwich borough for over 20 years and have not experience any crime.
    Also some of the crime that is done are between young men, who a lot of the time do not live in the borough.
    They come from other parts of London to make trouble. I was born and breed in battersea as the crime rate was high and still is in some parts as my family still live there.No matter where you live there will always be crime. Get rid of the trouble makers bring out stronger discipline sentences for schools, and police to sort the situation out.

  • Bullcr4p

    what a big load of bulls***… don’t trust this if you are looking for a safe place in london… the only reasons the areas mentioned as safe are “safer” is because there are less people living there so there are obviously less crimes in the statistics. It is actually more dangerous to live in any area outside of london than it is to live in Islington in the west of finsbury park (crouch end/muswell hill) or central london in euston/warren street area… they are the safest places in london, even safer than most areas in west london… hackney depends on where you go but most areas are amazing and pretty safe as well, not as safe as islington but god, you are in london… theres 200.000 people living in hackney and of those max. 50 get killed in hackney in a year and more than half of them are some gang related crimes that no one gets involved in unless you wanna start dealing with drugs in some gangs territory so wth!?!?! london is one of the safest cities in my opinion if you look at the population and compare it to its size, the worst thing i ever saw here was a car crash, the worst thing i ever saw when i used to live on the country in spain was stabbings and 20 children beating up 1 kid in front of the school so stop with this statistic shit and open your eyes people, there is no such thing as a bad area or a good area in terms of safety, its all about how you treat people and its about how you educate your children so they dont beat up and bully other kids and form gangs… and if you are still looking for a safe place anyways take islington, central london (all full of CCTV anyways, the crimes reported there are people stealing some tourists bag) barking & dagenham if you don’t mind being 1 hour away from the city… just stay away from leyton, leytonstone and the train stations around that area and stay away from seven sisters and most areas in south london (i don’t know which ones are nice and which ones arent but all i have seen wasnt very nice apart from clapham junction)

    hope this helps if you look for flats and stop thinking hackney or islington are bad places to live, they are the best locations in london!

  • Derry

    was just checking online the safest areas in London and came across this. Hope you are fine now and no longer insecure.

  • Pat

    crime statistics are expressed as a proportion of the population, so it makes no difference whether there is a large/small population.

  • Jamie

    absolute rubbish you idiot, it is not fully of racists at all you prick.  stop believing everything you read in the paper.  ignorant pig.

  • John

    I’ve lived in quite a few parts of London. I grew up in Islington and have friends all over Islington. There are good and bad parts BUT the part I lived in was Clerkenwell and that is a very safe area. Other parts could be more dodgy where estates and gang culture are more widespread.

    Now i’m not surprised Hackney is in this list although the time frame is 07/08 in regards to the crime stats. There are alot of new builds in Hackney plus my friend lives in an estate around Hackney and they’ve knocked it down, which will be replaces with new buildings and he can move back in. Therefore they are trying to improve the area. My grandparents also lived around the Homerton end of Hackney, and although it can be dodgy walking around late at night they’ve never been a victim of crime. Some parts of Hackney are very run down with very few people at night hence perfect place for robbery/ sexual assault. Therefore best for lone females to steer clear at night!

    I’ve also lived in Newham- around East Ham. It’s mostly an Asian area and seemed ok. Although I wouldn’t feel safe walking the back streets late at night again due to how remote it is. If something happened your on your own, plus i witnessed alot of car crime from my window. There’s plenty of side roads/ streets where the cops don’t usually drive through and the criminals know this

    I’ve lived in 2 parts of Dagenham over the years and I must say, I’d seriously recommend this area for any young mum and family. There are very few estates and I barely ever see hoodie gangs around. Plenty of space and less people compared to Central London. 

    I’ve worked in South London as a delivery driver for a number of years so I know the borough pretty well. People talk about the high crime rate in Peckham and yes u have to be aware of your surroundings but it’s not as bad as people make out. The estates can be dodgy BUT in all the yrs i’ve been in and out of estates sometimes as late as midnight, i’ve rarely seen any gangs hanging around. 

    BUT some of my colleagues have gotten robbed at gun point in the estates. 

    Camberwell always seemed dodgy and I’d say Peckham is better. Although there are some nice parts of Camberwell with expensive houses. 

  • david

    Westminster as a borough is a safe place to live in. North Westsminster is the part of the borough which drags it down. Search It up, It’s ridden with gangs, Shootings, Drug dealing etc. 

    The worst areas in westminster i’d say (from experience) is:
    1)Queens Park
    2) Lisson Grove
    3)Harrow Road
    4)Kilburn
    5)Edgware road (the church street side of it no the rich shisha places you know)
    6)Westbourne
    7)Little Venice
    8) Pimlico

  • Drake

    Try going up north to places like queens park, harrow road and Lisson Grove. You just live in the posh south

  • Jeff

    I am hoping to visit this summer for the Olympics I am looking to stay at a place in City of London, close to LIverpool station, Bishopsgate and New street.. Does anyone have any thoughts on the safety of this area. I am fit middle aged man , likley be out for some night life so will be walking back to my flat late at night.

  • http://www.facebook.com/coadyiamf Walter Coady

    i would say acton is a bit on the dodgy side aswell

  • kim

    hi i am lookin to moving to fulham soon as a home exchange. i have a young son of 13 and was wondering if anyone had any idea of the area. its close to dawes road..as im a single mum,so it me and my boy.thanks

  • Yasingreenwich

    You have not experienced any. Because you were the perpetrator. :)

  • Facts

    London Fields, Plaistow, Custom House, Canning Town, Clapton, Bow Gotta say the gangs around there are very bad high homicide areas

  • bigmanting

    lool newham is on every high crime list

  • Resident

    I would say Tottenham, Woodgreen, London Fields, Plaistow, Custom House, Canning Town, Brixton, Battersea, Peckham, Walworth, South Kilburn & Bow Are the worse areas in London, There’s always shootings & stabbings due to gang rivalry or Turf War

  • anti podas

    I studied and worked in London for 2 years. I lived(Iam spanish) in Spain,mostly in a northen small town, but not only (I lived in Madrid,Barcelona, Alicante or Oviedo) I feal much more safe in Spain than London. I can assure you that I was witness of more than a car crash in London. At Baker street station, a group of families(3 father/grandpa and his kids) beat 2 teenagers. related with a football issue (teenagers wears in blue, and families in red.sorry I dont know nothing about foatball). the 2 teens says 2-0, after that, one of the adults hit then. The rest of the familie kicked the guys when there were in ground. Is just one of many things that Ive watched in London (in all big citys happend things like). If you never saw anything bad, you are really lucky, in 2 years I saw figths, vandalism (break car windows, burn urban furniture….)assault and threatening with a screwdriver….not talking only about pubs and nightclubs surrondings in south london

    After lived in Croydon (New Addington and Purley) and Hammersmith (Arround tube station), surprised by the stats of Hammersmith. I know the fame of Croydon, I think this place isnt as bad as people described, but Allways thinks on Hammersmith as a bit posh place