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How Safe Is The UK: UK Crime Rates

Choosing a safe place to live is a priority for anyone who is moving across the country to find their new home. If you’re planning on moving to the UK, it’s understandable that you’ll be wondering, how safe is the UK? Luckily for you, we, at The Finder, have done our research and found the different crime rates in the different countries of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Whether you desire to live your new life in the heart of London or would rather enjoy some Haggis in Scotland, it’s important to be prepared when experiencing a new life in a different country. This article will detail important information about the crime rates not only in the UK but in each country.

How safe is the UK?

According to statistics, the overall crime rate in the UK is considered moderate to low. In the Global Peace Index, the UK ranked 42 out of 163 countries for the year 2020. This is an annual ranking of which countries in the world are the safest and are conducted by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The UK is also considered to have a ‘high’ state of peace within this ranking.

The UK police actually recorded a 10 percent decrease in crimes from March 2020 to March 2021. This reduction was prevalent across England and Wales regions, with decreases between 5 to 18 percent in police recorded crime. While COVID-19 certainly played a significant role in reducing crime rates in the past year due to limited social contact, the number of violent crimes had also been decreasing prior to the pandemic.

In fact, in March 2019, the total number of violent crimes had decreased by 28 percent. Some changes in violent crimes include the number of homicides decreasing by 16 percent, the number of firearm offences decreasing by 14 percent and the number of knife-involved offences decreasing by 15 percent. So while many people may fear moving countries during a global pandemic, it might actually be safer to move as a result of decreased crime rates caused by limited social interaction.

While all this sounds great, it also means tightening up on your cyber security at home. With everyone tied to their homes, this also means that the number of cybercrimes taking place has increased, such as increased hacking and computer misusage.

Pickpocketings and scam artists

Overall, the UK is considered a safe country to travel to. Even traveller sites deem the UK as a very safe country. However, the only main issue tourists should take note of is the high pickpocketing levels in the UK streets. Remember, low crime doesn’t mean no crime. Petty crimes like pickpocketing, street robberies and car theft may still be a problem in certain parts of the UK.

It is pretty common and there are certain locations that are highly infamous for pickpocketings, such as popular landmarks and crowded tourist areas. It’s important to stay vigilant even on public transport like buses and trains, or even the airport. You should take precautionary measures to minimise your chances of being pickpocketed in crowded areas. Replacing everything in your wallet while overseas will be a real hassle. Remember not to leave any valuables in plain sight and always lock your car doors.

UK crime rates: England and Wales

Bridge in the UK leading to a clock tower
Photo credit: 123RF

According to the Office for National Statistics in the UK, the percentages for most offences such as violence, homicide, theft and burglary have seen a decrease when looking at annual changes. However, crimes like fraud and misuse have seen a skyrocketing increase, an expected result of the global pandemic that encouraged the usage of the internet.

The UK police recorded 600 homicide offences in the year ending March 2021, which is a 16 percent decrease from the 716 offences recorded in the year ending March 2020. The homicide rate in England and Wales is considered low, at 10 per 1 million people. When looking at homicides where a knife was involved, there was a decrease from 275 in the year 2020 to 238 in the year 2021. Furthermore, there was also a 15 percent decrease in knife-enabled crime in the year ending March 2021, when compared with the previous year.

When looking at the safest or dangerous places to live in England and Wales, places like North Yorkshire Devon and Cornwall, Wiltshire and Surrey have been deemed as the safest places to live. With the lowest crime rates of violent offences, these places are considered safe to live in. However, some places to avoid that have skyrocketing crime rates include West Yorkshire and the northeast county, where they have double the crime rates than North Yorkshire. 

Manchester is also considered one of the safest places to live in England and is a popular relocation spot for many global citizens.

UK crime rates: Scotland

Colourful building in Scotland
Photo credit: 123RF

Out of the four countries, Scotland has seen the most drastic improvement in crime rates, falling from 82.6 crimes per thousand people to just 45, over the span of 17 years. This makes Scotland the safest country to live in, out of all four countries in the UK.

The most notorious city in Scotland for its high crime rates is Glasglow, which has in fact been deemed as one of the most dangerous cities in Europe. The murder rate in Glasglow accounts for 19 percent of all murder cases in Scotland, which is astoundingly high. Glasglow is notorious for its gang troubles and knife crimes, and hence it would be wise to stay away if you’re looking for a relatively peaceful city to move into.

Despite Glasglow’s infamous reputation, the city has been rebuilding and improving, and many people suggest living in the calm suburbs of the city. Other places in Scotland like the capital city, Edinburgh, are popular relocation destinations for global citizens excited to start a new life. Or if you’re tired of the city life, settle down in the rural part of Scotland, such as Dumfries and Galloway.

UK crime rates: Northern Ireland

Castle in the Northern Ireland
Photo credit: 123RF

Although known for its previously rocky political situation, Northern Ireland has stabilised into the beautiful and safe country that it is today. In fact, its crime rates over the past 17 years have fallen from 84 crimes per 1000 people to 59 per thousand. It now has one of the lowest crime rates in all of Europe.

Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, was even ranked at second place when looking at the top 5 safest cities in all of UK. If you’re wondering which cities you should avoid, most of the cities in Northern Ireland are relatively safe to live in. For extra precaution, you can check out the crime rates per district, which reveal the highest to lowest crime rates in each district for 2021.

Northern Ireland is also known for its friendly and amiable people and is even known as the friendliest part of the UK. So if you’re worried about making friends, you have nothing to fear when heading to Northern Ireland.

All in all, the UK is considered a relatively safe place to live in, with a low risk of violent crimes and terrorist attacks. So rest at ease when heading to your new destination, although be vigilant and keep a wary eye on your pockets when in crowded places!

Feeling ready to make the big move?

Head over here to begin your journey
Or start ticking off your relocation checklist here

Still unsure?

Learn more about the UK here
Explore more destinations here 

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