The safest places to live in the UK

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Yorkshire, England
When choosing where your new home is going to be, the safety of you and your family is a fundamental necessity. Many people often go by the 'safety first' rule, as it is important to feel comfortable and secure in your own home. If you are currently on the search for a new home and want to be reassured that you are moving to a safe part of the United Kingdom, then this guide has been made for you.  

The Global Peace Index (2019) ranked the UK as the 45th safest amongst 163 countries around the world, which means we are a relatively safe country. However, in saying this, there are areas of the United Kingdom that are safer than others, with lower crime rates and better living conditions. 

In this guide, we take a look at ten of safest places to live in the UK. 

1. The Shetland Islands

The Shetland Islands lie roughly 110 miles off of Scotland's north east coastline, and are only around 140 miles west of Norway. As well as being home to some of the most stunning landscapes and incredible Viking history, the islands also have an extremely low crime rate. Between 2020-2021, it was reported that there were only 19.76 crimes per 1000 people which makes the Shetland Islands one of the safest places to live in the UK.  

To emphasis how low the crime rate is, the average rate of serious assault is around 0.4 per 1000 people and the rate of use of offensive approximately 0.7 per 1000 people. This equates to around 9 crimes of serious assaults and about 15 uses of offensive weapons recorded every year, on average. 

2. North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire is one of the largest ceremonial counties in England, and with being such a large area you may be surprised to hear that it is one of the safest places to live in the UK. In fact, North Yorkshire's crime rate is approximately 47.5 per 1000 people, which is considerably lower than the total recorded crime rate in England and Wales.  

In comparison to other areas of the United Kingdom, North Yorkshire ranks as the lowest scoring place for violent crimes against another person. As well as this, North Yorkshire ranks as the sixth lowest in the country for drug related crimes at 2.3 per 1000 people, which is considerably lower than other areas of the UK. 

3. Devon and Cornwall

Even though Devon and Cornwall are completely separate counties, they are combined together when it comes down to crime statistics due to their joint police force. As two counties have become one in this instance, you would expect the crime rate to be rather high, however Devon and Cornwall is one of the safest places to live in the UK, with a crime rate of around 51.0 crimes per 1000 people. 

For example, Devon and Cornwall ranks as one of the lowest places in the UK for two crime categories in particular. These two crime categories consist of residential burglary, as well as theft offences. Their statistics are actually lower that those of North Yorkshire, however Devon and Cornwall has slightly higher rates in other crime categories such as criminal damage and arson. 

4. Aberdeen City

Aberdeen is a port city in the northeast of Scotland, where the Dee and Don rivers meet the North Sea and happens to be the countries third most populous city. For a city, you might assume that the crime rate may be relatively high, however in 2021 Aberdeen City was actually ranked as Scotland's safest city, with a low crime rate of 51.27 crimes per 1000 people. This is also low in comparison to the nation's average crime rate of 77.6 per 1000 people. 

Reports from 2022 show that Aberdeen ranks very low for people being worried about being subject to physical attack, due to their skin colour, religion, gender or ethnic origin, which means that crime rates regarding physical attack are very low in the city. As well as this, theft rates are relatively low too, in comparison to other cities in the United Kingdom.

5. Wiltshire

Wiltshire is a ceremonial and historic country located in the South West of England. Some of it's main towns consist of Salisbury, Swindon, Chippenham and Warminster. Looking at data reported in 2019, Wiltshire is one of the safest places to live in the UK, with a crime rate of 52.17 per 1000 people which, again, undercuts the national average by a considerable amount. 

To put this into context, Wiltshire is one of the lowest ranking places in the United Kingdom for criminal damage and arson. The nations average crime rate from criminal damage and arson was 8.0 per 1000 people in 2021, which equates to around 481,062 crime reports. Wiltshire also ranks relatively low for residential burglary with only 0.4 crimes per 1000 people. 

6. Surrey 

Surrey is a country located in the South East of England. The county borders Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, as well as Greater London, so it may not be a surprise that Surrey is the third most populated county in England. Being such a large county, you might expect a higher crime rate, however, Surrey is one of the safest places to live in the UK, with a crime rate of 55.6 crimes per 1000 people. 

In comparison to other areas featured on this list and other areas in the United Kingdom, Surrey actually  has one of the lowest rates for non-residential burglary. Non-residential burglary, is burglary of businesses, public buildings like shops and restaurants, as well as buildings that are not attached to a domestic property, such as sheds and detached garages. This large county also ranks relatively low when it comes to the rate of crime related to violence against a person. 

7. West Mercia 

West Mercia is the fourth largest police area in England and Wales and covers Herefordshire, North and South Worcestershire, Shropshire, and Telford. The concept is similar to Devon and Cornwall, where several counties are combined into one police force. Even though West Mercia is made up of five counties, it is still one of the top ten safest places to live in the UK with an approximate crime rate of 56.5 recorded crimes per 1000 people. 

This large part of the United Kingdom ranks relatively low for drug related offences, as well as criminal damage and arson. Unfortunately, West Mercia  has some higher crime rates for offences like burglary, but this is mainly cases of shoplifting rather than domestic theft. The areas shoplifting rates are on average 3.8 per 1000 people. 

8. Gloucestershire 

Gloucestershire is a large county in the South West of England and is home to some of the most beautiful countryside in England. Gloucestershire covers areas like Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud and Tewkesbury and ranks as number eight of the safest places to live in the United Kingdom, with an average crime rate of 58.3 crimes reported per 1000 people. 

Looking at the statistics, Gloucestershire has a very low theft,  robbery and burglary rates, with only 0.37 cases of robbery per 1000 people. As well as this, there is a very low rates for drug related crimes and possession of dangerous weapons.

9. Staffordshire 

Staffordshire is an English county in the West Midlands, which borders Cheshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. It is most famous for the Peak District National Park, historic attractions and modern cities, as well as being known to be one of the safest places to live in the UK. Staffordshire has a crime rate score of 59.4 per 1000 people, which is 18.2 marks lower than the UK's national average. 

To put this into context, Staffordshire ranks as one of the lowest places on this list for crimes related to drug offences, with only 1.4 incidents taking place per 1000 people. This statistic is considerably lower than the United Kingdom's national average of 3.5 drug offence incidents taking place per 1000 people. 

10. Dorset

Coming to the end of our list, we finish with Dorset! Dorset is a county located in the southwest of England and is famous for the Jurassic Coast. Along this long stretch of coastline, you can find many fossils and rock formations that show millions of years of geological history. As well as the fascinating history, Dorset is also a very safe place to live, with a crime rate statistic of 60.6 incidents per 1000 people. 

Statistics show that Dorset, like Staffordshire, ranks as one of the lowest areas of the UK for drug related offences. However, out of all the areas listed, Dorset ranks as one of the highest for theft offences and non-residential burglary. 

The ten places listed above are all fantastic places to live for an array of different reasons, however one thing that they all have in common, is that they are all incredibly safe areas of the United Kingdom. If you are looking to move within the UK, then get in contact Pickfords today.