The reduction in police numbers and consequent increase in crime rates is widely covered, but has every area in London been equally affected? This post will look at the ten boroughs most affected by crime, and explore the reasons why this is the case.
Westminster, at the heart of London, has experienced the biggest impact from crime, with 58,129 incidents in the financial year 2017-2018. This is perhaps unsurprising, as the range of tourist attractions packed into this borough – The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, among others – means that Westminster is heaving with activity daily. Tourists are common targets for theft and handling, which represents over half of the crimes in Westminster (32,408).
Coming in second, and with substantially fewer incidents (38,577), is Camden, just north of the centre. This borough includes some of the most expensive areas of London, such as Hampstead, as well as a thriving alternative scene centred around the lively Camden Market. Incidents are up by 24.2% this year as compared to last, from 31,060 to 38,577; though there has been a slight decrease in criminal damage (from 1,947 to 1,843 incidents).
Lambeth is London’s third most affected borough, with 35,007 incidents in the last year. This borough is directly south of Westminster, on the opposite side of the Thames. At seven miles long, it stretches from Central London down to Streatham Common, with Brixton as its civic and geographical centre. Unlike Camden and Westminster, theft and handling represent fewer than half of Lambeth’s incidents (13,245 out of 35,007). Instead, Lambeth has proportionally more cases of violence against the person (10,766 out of 35,007).
The borough of Newham has 34,841 recorded incidents; just a handful fewer than Lambeth. Situated in the North East of the city, Newham was host to much of the London 2012 Olympics, and is the site of the London Stadium. It has experienced a high incidence of criminal damage in the last year (2,330 cases), as well as very similar levels of theft and handling and violence against the person as Lambeth (13,790 and 10,524 respectively).
Southwark is home to famous tourist attractions such as Shakespeare’s Globe, The Shard, Tate Modern, and Borough Market, and lies to the east of Lambeth. 33,997 incidents were recorded in the last year, representing a small increase of 2.81% on the previous year of 33,068 incidents.
6: Tower Hamlets
Tower Hamlets is located directly east of the City of London, and comprises Canary Wharf as well as Brick Lane. Similarly to Southward, it suffered a small increase of 3.65% in crime, resulting in 32,223 incidents this last year. Against this trend, there was a decrease in criminal damage, perhaps due to heightened security.
As the second smallest borough in London, it might be a surprise to see Islington on the list, with 31,415 incidents in the last year. However, it follows the trends of the other most dangerous boroughs in that it is very central, located just north of the City of London. Combined figures for robbery, burglary, and theft and handling, represent almost a third of the total incidents (19,174 out of 31,415).
Hackney has experienced a notably small increase in crime lately, with last year’s figures only 0.86% higher than the previous year’s, totalling 30,793 incidents. There have been drops in theft and handling and criminal damage, though an increase in robbery and burglary.
Croydon is London’s largest borough by population, which goes some way to explaining why it is among the most dangerous. Its 30,549 incidents represent a 0.96% decrease in crime compared to the year before, making Croydon the only borough on this list not to have experienced an increase in crime recently.
Haringey is a leafy borough in North London, with 25% of its area taken up by green spaces. It is the tenth most affected borough in London, with 30,468 recorded incidents in the past year. As with other boroughs, the majority of these crimes were theft and handling or violence against the person, with hundreds more incidents in each case as compared to the previous year.
Overall, we can see that crime is increasing in London, with more central areas worst affected. This is most likely due to the higher population in these areas, as well as the density of tourists, who are common targets for theft. A notable exception to this trend is criminal damage, incidents of which decreased in most cases over the last two years.
Yair Daren is a Director at Security Risk Specialists Ltd – an accredited security company based in Barbican-London.
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