Depending on who you ask, England is famous for a wide variety of things. From the Royal Family and David Beckham to its best in the world fish and chips shops and seaside getaways. Yet, one thing missing from most lists is its relatively high crime rate and the many cities known for being one of the most dangerous places in England.
With its high cost of living and wealth gap, tension has been brewing in England for a long time now. While its danger doesn’t rate nearly as high as the likes of Mexico and Colombia, knife crime and drugs are seeing a dramatic increase in England in recent years.
We take a look deep at the top 9 dangerous places in England below (in no particular order), so when you’re ready to hit the streets of England, you know which areas to avoid. Read on and keep your valuables close by.
Most common crime in Sheffield: Antisocial behavior
Sheffield isn’t typically thought of as a dangerous city, and realistically, it’s not. The danger of Sheffield comes from its high rate of antisocial behavior, which is classified as ‘behavior by a person which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to persons not of the same household as the person.’ Typical offenses include being a noisy neighbor, drinking or drug use in streets, being rowdy in large groups, and racism.
In fact, on average, 44% of all crime in Sheffield is antisocial behavior. This is likely due to its large student population and lively nightlife. Luckily, if you aren’t one to go out well into the night, Sheffield is a vibrant and safe city during the day.
Even so, it’s always best to be aware of your surroundings, and if you’re a female, be cautious of going out on your own. On average, more than 5,000 people a year end up in the hospital due to knife stabbings, so it’s not a city you want to let your guard down in.
Most common crime in London: Knife crime
With a city of over nine million people, one can expect there’s going to be crime in London. On the world map, London is far from being one of the most dangerous cities. Yet, here in England, it’s considered a dangerous place due to its growing crime rate. Knife crime, in particular, has escalated in recent years to the point where 268 murders a year are due to ‘a sharp instrument’. Many believe this is caused by increasing numbers of people living in tighter corners and the unease in political tension.
It is worth noting that not all areas of London see such a dramatic crime rate. Westminster, Camden, Chelsea, and Kensington are particular areas to avoid, especially after dark. In these areas, sexual offenses are also on the rise. Whereas Richmond, Bexley, and Kingston see minimal dangerous crime. However, even in the less dangerous and more touristy areas, pickpockets and petty theft are common. Be sure to keep valuables out of sight and out of reach, especially in larger crowds.
By staying aware and avoiding going out after dark, both young and older travelers alike can enjoy the magnitude of cultural and entertainment opportunities throughout the city.
Most common crime in Manchester: Antisocial behavior
Like many big cities in England, Manchester is seeing a concerning increase in petty crime and violent crime. On average, Manchester sees one murder a week and around 125,000 violent crimes a year, and there’s no sign this is slowing down.
High crime rates are likely due to the fact that Manchester has more than its fair share of poverty-stricken regions, and it’s here gang violence and gun crime are common. Particular areas to avoid are Moss Side, Longsight, and Rusholme. On a positive note, extra police presence has been seen in these areas, and with it, a hope that violent crime will see a reduction in the years to come.
Even so, as a visitor to Manchester, you’ll be largely unaware of this growing violence. There are many areas of significant wealth, and if you stick to these neighborhoods, you can enjoy the many sports, shopping, and entertainment Manchester offers. Do try to avoid wearing football shirts in areas you’re not familiar with. Rivalries are taken very seriously here, and it’s not uncommon for crime to increase significantly following football games.
Most common crime in Leicester: Theft
Located in the East Midlands of England, Leicester is a charming city filled with diversity. With its clean streets and beautiful architecture, you may be surprised to see Leicester on this list. However, its high unemployment rate and low average salary are considered the driving force behind much of the city’s crime.
In 2020, there was an average of 97 crimes per 1,000 people, most being theft or damage of property. It is believed the actual crime rate is higher, with large amounts of petty theft going unreported. Homes being broken into, mugging, and car theft are particular areas of concern, along with limited drug usage, racism, and corruption.
In good news, most of these crimes happen between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am. As long as you keep your pricey possessions out of view and are aware of your surroundings, you’ll feel plenty safe in Leicester. Once the sun sets, the chances of being a victim of theft or muggings more than doubles. Limit your time walking in streets and alleys at night and be especially cautious after a Leicester football game, as crime is known to go up.
Most common crime in Birmingham: Violence and sexual offenses
Many people believe that Birmingham is the least safe city in the entire United Kingdom, and the stats back this feeling up. If you’re not from the area, you might recognize the city from Netflix’s popular show, Peaky Blinders. While the show may dramatize the gang’s rowdy behavior, it’s clear some of their dangerous tactics have stuck around.
On average, there are 103 crimes per 1,000 people. While this isn’t significantly higher than other cities in England, these crimes tend to be more severe, with violence and sexual offenses topping the charts. Over 54,000 accounts of violence and sexual offenses occurred in 2020, while antisocial behavior was under 25,000 offenses. Other common crimes include burglary, criminal damage, and vehicle crime.
Like many of the most dangerous places in England, Birmingham has distinctive high-risk areas that should be avoided. These include Lozells, Handsworth, and Northfield, and no matter the time of day, you’ll need to keep your guard up. However, if you stick to the more wealthy and touristy areas, your chances of being a victim of crime are significantly reduced, especially if you don’t walk alone at night.
Most common crime in Bradford: Violence and sexual offenses
In a recent poll, more residents of Bradford felt it was an unsafe city (42%) than a safe city (35%). If you ask around town or visitors who’ve spent time in Bradford, you’ll hear the same divided take on the city’s safety. This is likely due to Bradford’s large student population, where most students stay on or near campus. An increase in security and focus on reducing antisocial behavior has allowed the University of Bradford to retain its good safety reputation.
However, as soon as you step off campus, life will feel a bit different. On average, 28% of households find it difficult to live on their yearly salary, and over 5% of the city is unemployed. This causes a lot of stress and anxiety throughout the city, resulting in high numbers of theft and violence. Many residents are paid less than living costs and resort to dangerous behaviors to get by.
Another reason Bradford is known as one of the most dangerous places in England is the 2001 race riots between the British Asian communities and the white majority. Over 300 police officers were hurt, and 297 arrests were made.
Most common crime in Leeds: Violence and sexual offenses
Located just down the road from Bradford, it’s no wonder Leeds also finds its way onto the list of most dangerous places in England. However, Leeds doesn’t have nearly the bad reputation Bradford does. This could make it even more dangerous, as unsuspecting tourists find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Leeds is also a much wealthier city than others on this list and even ranks as the sixth richest city in the United Kingdom. However, under the surface lies a serious problem of wealth inequality. Some communities in Leeds rank in the bottom 1% of the entire country for wealth, and it’s here much of the crime happens.
There are 35.7 violent crimes per 1,000 individuals on average, and the most common crimes are violence and sexual offenses. Many of these occur in poorer areas such as Hyde Park, and parts of South Leeds are places you’ll want to steer clear of. Stick to the wealthy areas, keep your valuables hidden, and the chances are high you’ll leave Leeds oblivious to its high crime rate.
Most common crime in Liverpool: Antisocial behavior
As one of the most popular cities in England for tourists to visit, it’s a shame such a large amount of crime lingers just below the surface. The average crime rate for Liverpool is right up there with the likes of Leicester and Birmingham. Luckily, much of the crime is antisocial behavior, and violent crime is limited.
A large amount of antisocial crime is believed to be due to Liverpool’s rowdy nightlife, with bars and nightclubs dotted all around the city. Seel Street and Matthew Street are particularly popular for those looking to party hard well into the night. Your chances of being a victim of crime are slim if you stick to your group of friends, but tourists do get caught out in the wrong place at the wrong time from time to time.
On the other hand, Liverpool hub One is a particularly dangerous region and should be avoided if possible. Here, the lack of police is noticeable, and with overcrowding and a rebellious atmosphere, violent crime happens much too often.
Most common crime in Bristol: Violence and sexual offenses
Bristol is known for its lively student culture and ‘hippie’ vibe. While you wouldn’t typically align these characteristics with crime, add in cocaine, and you have yourself one of the most dangerous places in England. Bristol has even been deemed the cocaine capital of Europe, and even though this is up for debate, the wastewater sampling highly supports this claim.
With this cocaine epidemic in full force, poverty and homelessness are also on the rise. Much of Bristol’s 86 crimes per 1,000 people is violent crime and has relations to drug use. On top of this, knife crime is on the rise, and due to universities keen to protect Bristol’s image, a lot of crime goes largely unreported.
In good news, Bristol has a ‘Purple Flag’ award, meaning it’s been deemed a safe place for a night out. Police have a strong presence around the city’s most popular bars and nightclubs, so stick to the popular student and tourist bars if you’re heading out.
What is the most dangerous part of England?
With a crime rate of 123.2 per 1,000 people, West Yorkshire is the most dangerous part of England. Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield all contribute to this high level of crime, and violence and sexual offenses are prevalent crimes, with over 100,000 crimes reported each year. Antisocial behavior isn’t far behind, with close to 50,000 offenses reported each year.
What UK city has the highest crime rate?
With a crime rate far exceeding the UK’s national average, Birmingham has the highest crime rate in the UK. As research suggests, much of Birmingham’s crime goes unreported, so one can imagine just how dangerous this city is.
Where is the safest place to live in the UK?
Based on crime statistics and population surveys, Edinburgh tops the charts for the safest place to live in the UK. On average, over 80% of people claim they feel safe in Edinburgh and recommend others to live in the city. Crime is very low at night, making it a safe and fun place to enjoy its vibrant nightlife.