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 2023. Discover the London areas with the lowest crime rates in this simple guide.
Where’s safest in London in 2023?
After nearly three years of major disruption from the pandemic, life has returned to a more ‘normal’ rhythm in the capital. For an in-depth look at how the pandemic affected crime rates, and what makes one area safer than others, be sure to scroll down past the list once you’re finished.
For now, however, we can move right along to discovering which of the London boroughs are the safest overall.
10 safest places to live in London in 2023
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 Crimerate data for Greater London covering February 2020 to January 2023. In each case, you can see the number of crimes committed per 1,000 people living in that borough.
10: Havering – 19,087 crimes total, 74 crimes per 1,000 people
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.
9: Wandsworth – 23,693 crimes total, 72 crimes per 1,000 people
Next up, not only is Wandsworth among the safest inner London boroughs for recorded crime, it also enjoys plenty of excellent school options and the wide open green spaces that help foster safety. Wandsworth and Clapham Commons are a delight to explore and easy access to the river is an added bonus.
8: Barnet – 27,569 crimes total, 70 crimes per 1,000 people
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: Bromley – 22,645 crimes total, 68 crimes per 1,000 people
Bromley has the best of both worlds, as it’s close enough to Central London to be lively and convenient, but retains its quiet, peaceful charm that families love. Enjoying a falling crime rate and an abundance of good parks, schools and community spirit, it’s a consistently popular borough for those who want security and safety without life being dull.
6: Merton – 13,864 crimes total, 66 crimes per 1,000 people
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.
5: Kingston upon Thames – 11,632 crimes total, 66 crimes per 1,000 people
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.
4: Sutton – 13,425 crimes total, 65 crimes per 1,000 people
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
3: Bexley – 15,765 crimes total, 64 crimes per 1,000 people
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.
2: Harrow – 15,017 crimes total, 60 crimes per 1,000 people
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!
1: Richmond upon Thames – 11,816 total crimes, 60 crimes per 1,000 people
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.
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.
HomeViews provides verified resident reviews of the UK’s housing developments. We’re working with developers, house builders, operators, housing associations and the Government to recognise high performers and help improve standards in the built environment.