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Crime and Safety

United Kingdom (UK) - Crime and Safety

If you are ever in need of emergency services in the United Kingdom, you can call 999 or 112. These numbers will route your call to a centre that will send out the appropriate help for the situation.

Crime Rates in the UK Compared with Other Countries

Moving to a safe area is one of the main concerns for expats who are unfamiliar with the United Kingdom. In 2012 a study was released showing the most dangerous places in the world for violent crimes.

For New York City the murder rate dropped 23% over a one-year period, but it still has 5.6 per 100,000 people. In Mexico City the crime rate is 8.4 individuals murdered per 100,000. This is still fairly low compared to Caracas, Venezuela's capital, in which 122 per 100,000 people are murdered. In Guatemala City the rate is also high, yet not as high as the 1 in every 1,615 people in Maseru, Lesotho.

Eastern European countries have the highest murder rates in Europe. Places like Tallinn, Minsk, and Chishinau have recently seen a 14% rise in violent crimes.

Amsterdam is the worst city for homicide rates in Western Europe, with 4.4 murders per 100,000 people. Glasgow follows closely behind this and is the most dangerous city in the UK, with 3.3 homicides per 100,000. Brussels sees 3 murders per 100,000 people, and Prague 2.7 per 100,000. However, none of these rates are as high as New York’s 5.6 per 100,000.

In London the annual murder rate is .0016%. This puts London ahead of Canada's largest cities. According to the same study, 1.6 people per 100,000 in England and Wales are murdered each year, which compares favourably to the more than 5 per 100,000 in New York City. Los Angeles also has a high rate of violent crime; in general, rates in UK cities are significantly lower than in the USA.

Worst Crime Areas for the UK

Although London does not have the highest rate of murders in the country, a study in 2013 indicated that Stratford in East London is the worst area for muggers, pickpockets, and other thieves. Looking at general offences around the UK, London's E15 and W12 post codes show the highest crime rates in 2013. Newcastle and Leeds have seen just over 1500 offences each in a six month period.

Northern Ireland is worse than England, Wales, and Scotland for most petty crimes. Hospitals, seaside resorts, and music festivals have been targets of crime, and this has increased the crime rate in Northern Ireland over the last several decades.

Best and Safest Locations in the UK

The list below shows the areas that are considered safest by researchers of crime rate data:

Berkshire (2 locations)
Devon (2 locations)


Crime comes in a range of forms, from murder to pick-pocketing. There are particular risks that need to be paid attention to in the UK. Over the last ten years credit card fraud has become one of the major crimes in the UK. There are several groups of scammers who use a variety of devices to skim numbers.

Over the years terrorist activity has also increased with incidents at underground stations and airports, however in general the UK is safer from terrorist activity than many other countries.

Police Safety

Northern Ireland is the only location in which police carry firearms. In England, Scotland, and Wales police officers do not carry guns except under special circumstances. This situation was set up in the 19th century by the Metropolitan Police Service. It helps to counter public fear and objections. There are often debates regarding whether officers should carry firearms, but the rules have not yet changed.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.