Written by, Bojana Atanasovska
Updated October, 3, 2022
It’s no secret that London has a successful economy, and not just compared to the rest of the UK, but other international cities of its size too.
Despite its success story, London isn’t everyone’s dream home; Many pack their bags and leave in search of a more affordable, and sometimes, safer option.
But, if you’re looking to move to the capital, here are the worst places to live in London that you should avoid.
London was split into 32 regions (called boroughs) back in 1965. They vary in size and population density, safety, affordability, and salary. (You can read more about the living costs in London and how much you’ll need to earn to stay afloat here.)
The worst neighbourhoods in London are:
Nowadays, Brixton is known for trendy clothes and street fashion, as well as the excellent food street market.
Although this borough was much more dangerous 20 years ago, it’s now safer, in part, thanks to the gentrification of surrounding areas.
Still, anyone that’s new to Brixton should stay alert, especially at night.
Hounslow is one of the roughest places in London.
Many people who have temporarily moved there describe the area as extremely unattractive and dull, but it is one of the cheapest areas on average in the entire London.
With its suburban vibe and very few places where you can get some quiet, Hounslow is not the best choice for those looking for pretty buildings and nature.
Peckham made the top of the list of the most dangerous areas in London on the reviewing website Top 10. Although not everyone agrees with this assessment, those that do cite ‘drugs, knives, and guns’ as the primary reason why this borough should be avoided.
But Peckham still has certain nice areas and coffee places, unlike Camberwell, which is known for regular unrests.
Like most London boroughs, Tottenham has good parts and bad parts, but it’s far from being the roughest part of London.
Some places are slightly more dangerous than others if you visit them at the wrong time.
The borough has also seen an increase in crime and unemployment in recent years, and despite its excellent connections to the centre, Tottenham Hale can be dangerous, especially at night.
The high levels of drugs, weapon possession, and violence make Newham one of the most dangerous areas in London.
In 2021, this area recorded 238 drug-related crimes and 10,424 violence and sexual offences, according to CrimeRate.co.uk.
This year, the crime rate in Newham is 7% higher than in London and 18% higher than the total figure for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Harlesden and the neighbouring area of Willesden are areas with relatively high crime rates. Many residents complain about burglaries and violence, which makes them one of the top areas to avoid in London.
On the plus side, Harsleden is an affordable place to live. What’s more, the area has seen some improvements in the past few years and there are nice cafés and pubs to visit.
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An expensive district isn’t necessarily a safe district—and Westminster is the perfect example of that.
This borough houses the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Cathedral, Oxford Street– and a crime rate that’s 54% higher than London’s, CrimeReport.co.uk found.
Being a tourist hotspot, Westminster deals with a fair share of muggers, pickpockets, and other petty criminals, placing it close to the worst part of London to live in on the list.
Theatres, museums, and historic taverns make Southwark an attractive destination for art enthusiasts, as well as young professionals who can find excellent deals on rental properties in the borough.
Southwark may not be the most dangerous place in London, but it’s close. The borough regularly records a high number of theft, burglary, possession of weapons, violence, and sexual offences.
Although Croydon offers affordable housing and comfortable transport, it’s one of the roughest areas of London.
The borough was voted 17th worst place to live in in a new 2020 survey by I Live Here, which counted more than 110,172 participants.
On top of that, Croydon is now also known as ‘London’s knife crime capital’ after it recorded five teenage murders– more than any other borough in 2021, Sky News reported.
The borough also has the third-highest crime rate in the entire London area.
Although Hackey saw its reputation go in the upward direction in the last several years, the borough is still largely considered to be one of the most dangerous parts of London.
It’s not a good idea for families and despite its efforts to improve safety for its residents, Hackey still has a lot of thieves and drug gangs to turn a new leaf.
With 4,140 reported crimes, Hackney is in the top 5 cities with the highest number of crimes on record.
Acton is every commuter’s dream; the Piccadilly Line connects Acton to Heathrow and King’s Cross, while the District Line connects to central and east London.
The borough also has decent parks and cafés that make it an ideal place for families and children.
But, Acton does have a few areas that should be generally avoided. For example, the east district registered 571 incidents in 2021, including violence and theft, reported My West London, based on Metropolitan Police data for the first quarter of 2021.
Despite the surging costs in the housing market, Barking and Dagenham is still the most affordable place for first-time buyers.
But, many of its residents are not quite satisfied with the quality of life in the borough, considering the crime rates and the poverty line in the area.
And since Abbey is a hub for shopping and eating out, it comes as no surprise that violence and shoplifting are common in this area.
Lewisham boasts good local street markets, cultural venues, and transportation.
However, many areas in the borough still register a high number of crimes. The worst one is New Cross, where a total of 267 offences were committed in only one month.The overall crime rate in the borough is 85 crimes per 1,000 people, based on CrimeRate.co.uk data.
Wembley is a dream location for every music and sports fan.
Although it might not be among the most dangerous boroughs in London, the borough has a lot of transportation issues, making it a less ideal place to live in if you need to get from one place to another on a daily basis.
What’s more, with the iconic Wembley stadium – which brings thousands of people– comes constant noise and a lot of trash, so if you’re looking for a quiet and clean place, it’s best to stay away from Wembley.
Many choose Bethnal Green for the good-quality schools, convenient transportation, and nightlife. The affordable rent prices make Bethnal Green an attractive destination for young adults as well.
The bad news is—safety is not this borough’s forte. Bethnal Green reports a higher than average violence rate against people and properties than most London districts.
Dalston is one of the best places to live in London for those looking for a place with exciting nightlife.
However, the borough ranks in second place as the least safe place to live in, after Hackney, with a total of 70 crimes recorded, including 26 for shoplifting and theft and 18 cases of assault, My West London reported.
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Despite its rising crime rate, London is the fourteenth safest city in the world, and it is statistically a safe place to live and travel. Actually, there are a lot of places that are great for families.
Some boroughs are more dangerous than others, but you’ll still face a higher chance of getting mugged or pickpocketed at night, even if you live in the safest London borough.
As of 2021, Croydon was the most violent area of London, with a total of 1,617 violent crimes. Southwark and Lambeth recorded the most stabbings.
According to The Week, Chelsea and Kensington are the most expensive areas in London, while Tower Hamlets has the highest rate of poverty, a Trust for London study found.
London is not the most dangerous city to live in or travel to, but some areas are less safe than others and less ideal to live in as a student or with a family. If you’re looking for boroughs to avoid in London, some of the areas that should be on top of the list are Hackney, Croydon, and Dalston.
Walthamstow is a relatively safe place to live. With excellent public transportation, a welcoming atmosphere, and beautiful parks, Walthamstow is a good option for most young professionals and families.
If you’re planning to move to London, avoid sketchy areas like Peckham, Hackney, and Croydon.
Richmond and Twickenham are two of the safest boroughs in central London, including at night, though you should always avoid sketchy spots and dark alleys.
That depends on the borough. Not all areas in South London are the worst places to live in London, but you should generally avoid Croydon, Lambeth, and Lewisham.
Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.