London is the bustling British capital blessed with diversity, beauty, and a long history to match. This is why the city is considered one of the best cities in the United Kingdom and why it’s such a popular tourist destination for most of its neighbourhoods.
However, not all areas within the city are created equal. While some are teeming with crowds hopping from one London landmark to another, others showcase London’s ugly side of criminal activity. The most dangerous places in London are known for everything from homicides and theft to drugs and overall poor living conditions.
Of its 32 boroughs, there are some dangerous places in London to avoid when visiting this lively capital. That includes the 13 following areas, which are notorious for all types of crime.
How Are London’s Dangerous Places Ranked?
Table of Contents
- How Are London’s Dangerous Places Ranked?
- 13 Most Dangerous Places in London
- 1. Westminster (189 crimes)
- 2. Kensington and Chelsea (115 crimes)
- 3. Camden (107 crimes)
- 4. Haringey (106 crimes)
- 5. Hackney (105 crimes)
- 6. Hammersmith and Fulham (103 crimes)
- 7. Islington (102 crimes)
- 8. Southwark (98 crimes)
- 9. Tower Hamlets (97 crimes)
- 10. Lambeth (96 crimes)
- 11. Newham (93 crimes)
- 12. Enfield (85 crimes)
- 13. Croydon (82 crimes)
- London’s Most Dangerous Neighborhoods Wrapped Up
Not all crime is created equal; some crimes are objectively worse than others, and this is something to keep in mind when ranking areas in terms of safety. For instance, a place that experiences pickpocketing often is safer than an area infamous for homicides.
For the sake of this guide, I’ll be focusing first and foremost on the crime rate, regardless of the type of crime that occurs there. That’s because there are places where violent crime is prevalent between rival gangs and wouldn’t directly affect tourists. And then, there are places where petty theft is the most common form of crime, and that would mostly affect people in tourist hotspots.
However, I’ll explicitly mention which type of crime is prevalent, where and why the area is generally unsafe. I’ve used stats from the Metropolitan Police to come up with the list.
13 Most Dangerous Places in London
You’d do well to avoid these dangerous London neighbourhoods when visiting the UK capital.
Tip: In case this guide strikes some fear into your heart, you can safely enjoy the capital virtually through one of the many ways shared in my London travel blog.
1. Westminster (189 crimes)
Westminster is actually quite popular, and for good reason. It’s home to the prestigious Buckingham Palace, the House of Parliament, and a lot of attractions. It’s also a tourist hotspot where people from all corners converge to enjoy the best of London.
Unfortunately, Westminster has become infamous for being one of London’s most crime-riddled places. This isn’t too surprising, given it’s one of London’s most populated locations.
Further, the area often has a large concentration of tourists congregating around London’s top landmarks. This concentration of tourists creates the perfect opportunity for petty thieves and pickpockets to steal from unsuspecting victims. Scammers are also known to terrorise visitors with scams like the cup-and-ball game.
According to the Met Police, Westminster had a crime rate of 189 crimes per 1,000 people. This means that there’s nearly a 20% chance for you to be a victim of crime while wandering the borough’s streets.
2. Kensington and Chelsea (115 crimes)
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Fun fact about London: it’s the fourth wealthiest city in the world and has a number of affluent areas. This includes The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, essentially a place for the rich, with many expensive properties found in the borough.
It’s also quite a popular location for tourists as well as locals who love a bit of fun, mostly due to the Notting Hill Festival. Not to mention, Kensington Palace, the royal residence, is also situated here.
However, the borough’s wealth isn’t enough to spare it from the crime that other boroughs of London experience. In fact, Kensington and Chelsea has been previously named the most dangerous borough in London.
While it isn’t at the top anymore, it’s still quite dangerous, with 115 crimes per 1,000 people. The borough faces many types of crimes, with drug-related activities and the possession of weapons quite common. The most common crime, however, was violence and sexual offences.
With the elites of the world living or having lived here — including the likes of Madonna, Rowan Atkinson, and more — there are safe areas. This includes Norland and Redcliffe, but you’ll want to avoid Brompton and Colville.
3. Camden (107 crimes)
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Ask a tourist what they know about Camden, and you’ll probably hear them go on and on about fashion, live music, and famous markets. Ask a local, and they’ll probably tell you about those, too, but they won’t be afraid to fill you in on the grim nature of Camden’s ugly side.
Now, Camden is great for the most part. After all, it has the British Museum and the beloved London Zoo. And no one can deny the brilliance of the Camden Market or the vibrancy of its lively nightlife.
However, the borough is quite populated and attracts a horde of tourists annually. This makes it the perfect spot for criminals targetting visitors, amongst other crimes.
There were 107 crimes reported per 1,000 people, with the most notorious wards being Camden Town and Bloomsbury. King’s Cross is another area, mostly plagued by drug-related offences and knife crimes.
The most common types of crimes here are theft, burglaries, and violent crimes. There was also a relatively high number of sexual violence crimes reported in comparison with other London boroughs.
4. Haringey (106 crimes)
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Haringey has actually seen a decrease in crime in recent years, but the current levels are still far ahead of most London boroughs. This North London borough is a popular location among tourists, with visitors coming here for landmarks like Bruce Castle. Locals also love the green spaces found in the area.
They do, however, hate the crime that takes place here. With a crime rate of 106 crimes per 1,000 people, this is one of the most dangerous places to live in London. This number is heavily skewed by the poorer neighbourhoods in London, including Tottenham Hale. This area mostly faces gang violence and drug abuse.
Haringey is also notorious for being one of the worst boroughs for burglaries and vehicle crimes. Pickpocketing is also common in tourist spots as well as on busy days, like when the area’s beloved Tottenham Hotspur plays football matches.
5. Hackney (105 crimes)
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Hackney is one of London’s most popular boroughs, especially amongst young people. It’s generally a pleasant area with green spaces in abundance and a number of recreational activities available.
Unfortunately, Hackney is also amongst the poorest boroughs in London, and this can be seen in its crime rate. This is compounded by the fact that there is plenty of economic disparity between the rich and poor in the borough.
With 105 crimes per 1,000 people, Hackney has an unenviable amount of crime that can make even its parks unsafe. Like Islington, the borough experiences a high level of interpersonal violence, usually between youths in rival gangs. Anti-social behavior is also prevalent, as is theft like pickpocketing and burglaries.
Fortunately, the crime rate in Hackney has declined in recent years as many urban developments and affluent residents have moved to the borough.
6. Hammersmith and Fulham (103 crimes)
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There are a lot of things that Hammersmith & Fulham is known for, and the borough’s range is impeccable, to say the least. It’s where I live so I can tell you it is a fantastic area most of the time!
Most weeks of the year, you’ll experience a ton of foot traffic where residents and tourists alike are heading to watch a football game hosted by either Fulham Football Club, a major English club. Other times, you’ll see masses head to the Hammersmith Apollo, which has hosted many big events.
However, Hammersmith & Fulham is also known for its crime rate, which makes it one of the most dangerous places in London. With a rate of 103 crimes per 1,000 people, this isn’t an area you should add to your itinerary.
This could be attributed to its large population and the prevalence of poverty. Residents of Hammersmith & Fulham often report cases of theft, violent crimes, and burglaries the most. The area is also a hotspot for vehicle crime, so be extra careful if you’ll be driving your way around here.
Like other boroughs, this area is plagued by gang-related activity.
7. Islington (102 crimes)
Like Westminster, Islington is an urban area that may be surprising to find on this list. More shockingly, the borough is often praised for its artistic culture and friendly nature. It also happens to be the second smallest neighbourhood in London, so it shouldn’t really be here, but unfortunately, it is.
Despite its otherwise brilliant reputation, Islington is one of the poorest areas in the UK, and poverty tends to lead to crime. Just like Westminster, the main driver of crime in the borough is theft, with pickpocketing leading the way, especially at transportation hubs and busy areas.
Islington isn’t a tourist hub, so violent crime is also quite prevalent. This includes anti-social behaviour and violence against people of all kinds.
This leads to Islington having a reported crime rate of 102 crimes per 1,000 people, with wards like Finsbury Park, Bunhill, and Caledonian being the worst areas in the borough.
8. Southwark (98 crimes)
Southwark is most known for The Shard, the tallest skyscraper in London. It’s also a trendy borough with eclectic neighborhoods and attractions like the art gallery hub, the Tate Modern. This means that it often has tourists wandering on its streets and criminals looking to take advantage.
Southwark is home to a mixed bag of good and terrible neighborhoods where crime reigns supreme. It’s one of the most dangerous boroughs in London, with 98 crimes reported per 1,000 people.
Among these crimes, the most common type of crime is violence against the person and theft, mostly due to the busy crowds around the borough’s popular attractions.
The places to avoid in Southwark are Borough, the Bankside & London Bridge, and West Bermondsey. In fact, Londoners voted Peckham, found in the borough, to be the most dangerous place in London due to gang activity.
9. Tower Hamlets (97 crimes)
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Tower Hamlets is a melting pot of diversity which is home to various nationalities, which makes it a fantastic spot to visit. This diversity can be seen in the wide range of cuisine from all parts of the world, and it also has a thriving, easygoing culture driven by the hipsters in the area.
Unfortunately, Tower Hamlets is one of the poorest areas in London and is a victim of widespread poverty. This is due to the social deprivation that residents in the area have experienced, and they’re somehow left to the dogs, with crime quite common.
With a reported 97 crimes per 1,000, Tower Hamlets is one of the roughest areas in London. While it isn’t its most prevalent type of crime, the borough has the highest rate of bicycle theft in London. Its most common type of crime is violence and sexual offences, with Whitechapel considered the worst area.
10. Lambeth (96 crimes)
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While it’s not quite at the level of Westminster, Lambeth is otherwise a popular tourist spot. The borough is most famous for the Lambeth Palace, which is where the Archbishop of Canterbury resides. Lambeth’s crime rate actually varies from ward to ward, with some generally safe while others are slapped with “don’t visit” orders.
Lambeth typically experiences 96 crimes per 1,000 people, which vary in severity.
Much like in other London areas, violence against other persons is the most prevalent, but mostly due to the gang rivalry that exists in the borough. Again, this mostly involves the youth who are initiated into gang culture from a young age. Lambeth is also known as a drug hotspot, with many drug-related offences reported to the authorities.
While it isn’t the most common type of crime, theft, like pickpocketing, is the highest here than it is in any other London borough, bar Westminster.
11. Newham (93 crimes)
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While Newham has experienced positive change in recent times, it’s still one of the most dangerous areas in London. Luckily, it does have more good places than bad places. You just have to avoid the bad ones.
There were 93 crimes reported per 1,000 people in Newham, with Stratford leading the way for the borough’s dangerous neighborhoods. Like Lambeth, Newham is mostly faced with drug-related crime and has one of the highest levels of this type of crime. It’s also notorious for high levels of gang activity.
In addition to the above, it still experiences an alarming amount of other types of crime, most notably theft and robbery. The high crime levels in the borough can be attributed to how many of its residents live in poverty and poor housing conditions.
12. Enfield (85 crimes)
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Another borough found in North London, Enfield, is one of the most unsafe places in London. Enfield residents reported 85 crimes per 1,000 to the police, which puts it near the top 10.
Like Haringey, there are places in Enfield that are considered safe and areas like Edmonton Green and Enfield Town that I encourage you to avoid. Most crimes in the borough are violence and sexual offences, but vehicle crime is a little more prominent than in other London boroughs.
Enfield is also notorious for its gang activity, which has claimed the lives of many, including those in and outside the gangs. As a result, knife crime has been steadily on the rise, as knives are often the weapon of choice.
13. Croydon (82 crimes)
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Opposite North London is South London, which has a crime problem of its own. Croydon, where the likes of Kate Moss and Sue Perkins hail from, is one of the most notorious boroughs here. The borough was one of the most important industrial areas in the 20th century and doesn’t have much to offer tourists besides history.
The police received 82 reports per 1,000 people in Croydon. Fairfield had the most reports, nearly doubling the number of crimes in Broad Green and Selhurst. The popular Croydon Town Centre is also quite dangerous due to a lively nightlife scene that gives criminals the perfect opportunity to commit crimes.
Croydon is the worst London borough for violence and sexual offences, with vehicle crime also being quite common. Like many of the boroughs here, many Croydon residents turn to crime because of poverty and poor living conditions.
London’s Most Dangerous Neighborhoods Wrapped Up
London is a world-class city that has both good and bad, and even though the good mostly overshadows the bad, you should still be wary of the city at its worst. Apart from the presence of crime ranging from petty to violent, the above neighbourhoods are often plagued with poverty and drug problems.
With this list in hand, you should be able to avoid the ugly side of London and make memories to last you a lifetime. From trying out the best fare at these London food tours to walking across the best bridges in London, which one will you try first?