The magnificent capital of the UK, London, is a popular relocation destination, judging by the reported 219 thousand that moved into the city in 2020.
However, living in the British metropolis may come with some drawbacks. Criminality has become a buzzword for residents and newcomers alike, especially with the recent spike in violent crime.
The recent increase in the occurrence of violent crime and other offences prompts the question: is it safe to live in UK’s capital in 2022?
We will explore the risks and potential issues that new residents of London’s metropolitan area may face and dispel any myths and misconceptions. The verdict may be shocking, but not for the expected reasons.
We understand that the likelihood of knife crime is a burning question for many, especially in light of heavy media coverage from various tabloids and serious news sources.
But does living in London correspond to an increase in the chance of being victimised in a violent offence? Most experts would dispute and nuance such statements. There are several reasons not to fear knife crime when moving to London.
Anti-social behaviour was the city's most frequent type of crime this year, with violent and sexual offences coming a close second.
Knife crime makes up an even smaller fraction of the overall violent crimes.
Current estimates place the total number of crimes at 1,079,602. One in every 3.56 counts was represented by anti-social behaviour, with a current rate of 33.85. Comparatively, violent and sexual offences made up one in every 4.4 cases, resulting in a rate of 27.36.
The rates for the latter are still relatively high. Still, there is a greater risk of being witness to antisociality than facing a violent encounter.
There is a caveat, however. When judging by the overall change in rates, while both increased from last year, violent crimes did considerably more, with an 81% increase compared to the 67% increase for anti-social crime.
Nonetheless, this fact still does not justify fearing knife crime when residing in the city. The most significant rate increases per type of crime are encountered for shoplifting (95%), theft from persons (95%), and bicycle theft (91%).
The bottom line is that judging by the current trends, living in London may prove riskier for your bike than for your life soon.
UK’s capital clearly has a criminality issue, one that may be attributable to any large city. However, in recent years, violent crime trends slowly shifted away from the big city.
Authorities reported a 2% increase in violence against persons, compared to a 7% increase in England. Sexual offence trends are even more concerning, with the capital seeing 2% fewer offences while the rates across England stagnate.
Once again, the only genuine concern for people moving to London is theft which makes up around 50% of recorded offences for the metropolitan area.
The Metropolitan police have been doing a great job curbing violence across all boroughs, with all areas of the city seeing better conditions.
This has, in part, been the result of Sadiq Khan's decision to lend £500,000 for a Violence Reduction Unit. The move mirrors Chicago's or Glasgow's successful efforts to reduce violence across densely populated and generally economically disparaged areas.
However, some commentators considered the starting budget for the new VRU to be insufficient.
Nonetheless, no matter how slow the process may be, residing in the Metropolitan area will only get safer in the future.
Crimes per 1000 residents
Richmond upon Thames
Kingston upon Thames
The situation of safety in the Metropolitan area should not be painted with broad strokes.
The truth is that criminal offences are somewhat restricted to certain disadvantaged boroughs and areas.
Exceptions exist, with Westminster being a central borough that tops the list of the riskiest areas to live in, with 203.6 crimes per 1000 residents.
However, the most dangerous parts of town are home to lower-class, economically burdened populations and have a historical tie to violence.
Perhaps surprisingly, the safest areas are located on the outskirts of the Metropolitan area, with central zones seeing higher concentrations of criminality.
Moving to London may seem appealing, especially since you understand that criminality should not be a concern.
However, another severe aspect to consider when planning to relocate to the city is the living costs in London.
The estimated monthly costs of living in London are £917.18 for a single person and £3197.80 for a family of four, excluding rent.
You can add an additional £1572 a month for the average rent across the city. Naturally, London living costs vary from borough to borough due to gentrification.
Barking and Dagenham
- Dublin - 9.91% cheaper, rent is 10.87% lower
- Manchester - 17.94% lower living costs, 48.60% cheaper rent
- Liverpool - 17.23% cheaper, 63.21% cheaper rent
- Glasgow - 22.09% cheaper to live, 56.77% cheaper rent
- Edinburgh - 22.52% cheaper living cost, 48.60% cheaper rent
- Copenhagen - 0.72% more expensive than London, rent is 30.04% lower
- Paris - 7.75% less expensive, rent is 32.38% lower
- Berlin - 18,64% cheaper to live, rent is 44.36% lower
- New York - 25.15% more expensive to live, 56.65% higher rent
- San Francisco - 19.92% more expensive, 46.59% higher rent
- Los Angeles - 1.10% cheaper, rent is 18.20% higher
Most will tell you that moving to London comes with multiple perks and opportunities for your life.
What is certain is that, at least on an economic level, the UK’s capital comes with an estimated average salary of £53700 a year. Moving to London comes with no real risks to your life or wellbeing. The biggest concern you will face is the higher cost of living in the better parts of the city.
The bottom line is that the only real problem you should dwell on is your economic safety.