Feeling safe is a factor many HomeViews reviewers mention when rating their homes. If you’re looking to make the big move to the capital or relocate from one part to another, we have the latest information on the safest places to live in London in 2022. Discover the London areas with the lowest crime rates in this simple guide.
A strange time for crime
2020-2021 was a bizarrely unique period for everyone in the UK, as the global coronavirus pandemic unfolded and even now affects our daily lives. Fortunately, the beginning of 2021 saw the start of the biggest national vaccination rollout in British history, leading people to start thinking once again about a return to normality and causing many to revisit the idea of moving home.
As we will explain, COVID-19 has made a big difference regarding the rates and types of crimes committed in London.
Did crime decrease during the pandemic in London?
Overall, crime in London dropped significantly during Jan-Nov 2020, by almost 14% compared to the same period in 2019. The full effects on crime of the numerous national lockdowns are still being analysed, but it’s clear that some forms have crime are majorly down while others remain steady or have even increased slightly. Theft and robbery-related crimes saw the most dramatic drop of more than 50% between March-May, as people largely stayed home.
However, London and the wider UK reported antisocial behaviour, drug abuse and domestic abuse all increased compared to 2019. These trends show just how much COVID has impacted society as life adjusts to the ‘new normal’.
While 2020 was potentially a ‘one-off’ for crime stats, the lockdown restrictions throughout the year mostly applied to all of London, rather than separate boroughs. This means that the relative safety of respective boroughs is likely to stay unchanged as the pandemic fully eases.
“The area always feels safe, no matter what time of the day it is. There are cameras and security on site at all times.”Verified Tenant on HomeViews, East Village by Get Living, Stratford
What makes areas safer than others?
Actual safety (and feeling safe) within an area of any city is more complicated than simple crime statistics. While low levels of crime and effective policing are essential for making the people who live there feel safe, other factors make a big difference too. The following are all important considerations to factor into your decision about the safety of where you choose to live.
Better schooling leads to greater opportunities for young learners, making them feel more invested in society and their future. Good schools and educational facilities therefore literally make areas safer as they improve the lives of people living there.
Arts and Culture
It might not seem like it, but art can have a tangible impact on an area’s safety. Places with a thriving arts scene make residents feel more positive and uplifted, which leads to them feeling safer while in many cases helping to reduce actual crime levels. Urban revitalisation and beautification are also usually part of overall community investment plans to improve the area as a whole.
While crimes still take place in parks, green spaces are vital for boosting an area’s sense of community, health and wellbeing. All of these are important in influencing safety in society. As you’ll see from our list, access to green spaces factors heavily in the appeal of all London’s safest boroughs.
While busy train and underground stations do experience crime issues, having good transport links often helps improve an area’s safety. This is because better access to public transport in London encourages more investment in the area, boosting its desirability and adding opportunities for those who live there. Also, smarter public transport systems are more likely to be better resourced in terms of providing safety and security for their passengers.
10 safest places to live in London in 2022
With these factors in mind, discover which parts of the capital offer the greatest peace of mind when it comes to safety. Our list of the top 10 safest places to live in London was drawn from official Metropolitan Police figures covering November 2020 to November 2021. In each case, you can see the number of crimes committed per 1000 people living in that borough.
10: Redbridge – 83.9 crimes per 1,000
Known as the original ‘leafy suburb’ a full quarter of Redbridge is covered by forest and public green spaces. It’s not too removed from the action, however, since it lies only a 20-minute journey from the heart of the capital. The borough’s safe look and feel continues to be boosted by improving schools and expanding business opportunities.
9: Hillingdon – 81.1 crimes per 1,000
Tucked away in the upper reaches of west London, Hillingdon is a large comfortable and decidedly green suburban borough. It has fantastic schools and universities, a thriving cultural scene and excellent transport links. This ticks all the boxes on our list, and helps keep crime low in this desirable part of the capital.
8: Barnet – 74 crimes per 1,000
Although quieter than most London boroughs, Barnet boasts excellent transport links, a profusion of parks and some of the highest-performing schools in the capital. Annual rates of violent crime are frequently recorded as well below the national average.
7: Havering – 70.8 crimes per 1,000
Quiet, prosperous and with no shortage of excellent schools, Havering is still one of the most affordable boroughs in London. It’s also one of the largest boroughs at 40 square miles, but half of that is situated in the Metropolitan Green Belt. This is a big plus for boosting desirability and long-term safety levels.
6: Kingston upon Thames – 69.3 crimes per 1,000
A recurring theme of this list of safest boroughs is their proximity to lakes and the River Thames. The river runs through Kingston upon Thames for three miles, playing host to a vibrant arts scene and uniquely chic café culture.
5: Sutton – 66.7 crimes per 1,000
Sitting just north of the Surrey Downs, Sutton is a walker’s paradise as it offers gorgeous rolling hills and unforgettable views that few other boroughs can compete with. The town centre is the hub and heart of Sutton, notable for its strong community feel. The borough routinely pulls 90%+ figures for happiness, satisfaction and feeling safe whenever its residents are surveyed.
“Before moving, we meticulously researched places where school offsted scores should be high and where crime rates should be low. Sutton came out from many resources.“Mehmet Ozaksu, Verified Resident – The Well House, SM1, May 2020
4: Harrow – 66.3 crimes per 1,000
Home to one of the nation’s top independent schools, Harrow is tucked away in the northwest of the capital. This gives it a quieter, calmer appeal compared to the electric buzz of the city’s central boroughs. Harrow is blessed with a winning combination of beautiful historic architecture, open green spaces and, of course, truly outstanding schools. Its solid transport links to central London don’t hurt either!
3: Merton – 66.2 crimes per 1,000
The home of Wimbledon, Merton combines culture and heritage with a cosmopolitan buzz. This rises to a fever pitch each summer when the tournament rolls around. Despite the annual influx of tourists and tennis lovers, Merton maintains a reliably safe and welcoming atmosphere even at its busiest.
2: Bexley – 64.7 crimes per 1,000
As part of the Thames Gateway area, Bexley has benefited greatly from urban regeneration. Overflowing with parks, cycle routes and a beautiful lake, Bexley has all the charm of ‘country-city living’ and a solidly maintained reputation for safety. Burglary is lower here than most London boroughs and violent crime is well below the UK average. This makes Bexley one of the safest places to live in London.
1: Richmond upon Thames – 60.4 crimes per 1,000
Still number one for London’s lowest crime rate, Richmond is the safest borough in the capital. This perhaps isn’t so surprising, since it feels more like a calm, welcoming village than a London borough. With beautiful riverside cafes, shops, pubs, 100 parks and 140 hectares of Metropolitan Green Belt area, Richmond’s is the place to combine the London lifestyle with idyllic rural perks.
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