Last year we ranked the top 10 most dangerous London boroughs. This year we’re doing it all over again.
In 2016-17, gun crime offences in London increased 42 percent (from 1,793 in 2015-16 to 2,544), and knife crime increased 24 percent (with 12,074 incidents recorded in 2016-17). Violence against the person crimes increased from 223,656 to 237,438 (up six percent). And the number of robberies increased from 21,571 to 24,189 (an increase of 12 percent).
In fact, unfortunately, throughout London, the total number of crimes rose from 740,993 to 774,737 – an total increase of 4.6 percent.
As with last year’s article, we look at London’s 33 boroughs, and rank them in terms of the total number of crimes committed.
For the latest stats, please see our 2019 update.
The eleventh largest borough on London, Ealing has the tenth highest crime rate of all London boroughs. However, Ealing is the third biggest borough in terms of population size, which goes some way to explaining why so much crime is committed in the borough. Last year, 28,312 crimes were committed – including 10,295 incidents of theft, 9,591 incidents of violence against the person (including 2,008 incidents of assault with injury, 889 incidents of wounding GBH and four murders).
Islington is just 5.74 square miles – making it the second smallest borough in London. As a well-developed and affluent borough, Islington’s relatively high crime rate (29,409) may come as a surprise. But perhaps its wealth is part of the problem. Criminals often target apparently affluent areas because they know that they will receive a higher payoff for their crime. And Islington is only a short walk from some other crime-ridden boroughs.
Hackney, recently voted the best place to live in London, is an East London borough known for its lush green spaces, the Olympics and its innovative architecture. A textbook example of gentrification, Hackney is loved by hipsters and cool millennials (with queues recently forming around the corner for Temple of Seitan’s vegan “fried chicken”). However, last year, 30,446 crimes were recorded in the borough last year.
One of the largest commercial districts outside of Central London, Croydon is located 9.5 miles from Charing Cross. Named in the London Plan as one of the 11 metropolitan centres in Greater London, Croydon is an important and lively borough. But, it also has a problem with crime – in particular youth violence, for which it has one of the highest levels in the city. With 30,784 total crimes, Croydon is the seventh most dangerous London borough.
Home to much of the redeveloped docklands, including West India Docks and Canary Wharf, Tower Hamlets is famous for its Brick Lane restaurants, street food, carpentry and imported carpets clothes. The borough is densely populated (with around 295,236 residents) and covers 7.63 square miles – and is considered one of the racially diverse zones. However, the borough also saw 30,947 crimes committed last year.
One of the most unaffordable boroughs in London, Camden is a popular tourist hotspot and boasts fashionable street markets, music venues and strong associations with London’s alternative scene. Though perhaps not thought of as a dangerous borough, Camden saw a total of 31,003 crimes – including 997 robberies, 7,769 incidents of violence against the person and 2,617 burglaries.
Formed from the former boroughs of West Ham and East Ham, Newham is located five miles east of the City of London, and has a population of 341,000. The borough is the UK’s debt hotspot, and experiences significant problems with poverty and inequality – with 36 percent of residents in low paid jobs. The fact that 31,904 crimes committed in the borough last year also makes it one of the most dangerous.
Connected to the City of London via bridges across the River Thames, Southwark houses some of London’s most famous attractions, including the Shard, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Borough Market. But the borough also has a darker side. With 32,919 crimes committed in the borough last year, including 3,063 burglaries, 775 sexual offences, 1,509 robberies and 9,442 acts of violence against the person (including six murders) Southwark is London’s third most dangerous borough.
One of just 14 local authorities which make up inner London, Lambeth is vibrant and diverse. With a population of around 303,000, Lambeth is one of the most densely populated London boroughs – and is home to the Garden Museum, the four Waterloo churches and the Oval cricket ground. The borough saw a total of 32,025 crimes last year, including 10,670 incidents of violence against the person, 13,179 thefts, 1,218 robberies and 3,048 burglaries. This makes Lambeth the second most dangerous London borough.
Quintessentially London, Westminster is home to most of the West End, St James’s Palace, Buckingham Palace, Oxford Street and Regent Street. That said, given that the Houses of Parliament are located there, its status as the most crime-ridden London borough may make some sense. However, since expense scandals and cash for access aren’t listed in the Met’s figures, something else must be going on. Westminster has for a long time been the borough with the highest number of violent crimes per person, and has one of the highest crime rates in the UK. With a massive 51,103 crimes committed last year – including 11,685 incidents of violence against the person, 28,250 thefts, 3,134 burglaries and 928 sexual offences – the 8.29 square miles which make up Westminster are particularly dangerous.
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