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The most dangerous cities in Wales

Snowdonia National Park
Image: Snowdonia National Park in North Wales |

Wales has seen a steep rise in violent crimes over the past half-decade. But which specific parts of the country have been the most dangerous in recent times?

This rundown draws on official police data compiled by the research platform UKCrimeStats. It focuses on the number of violent crimes, including those of a sexual nature, recorded in the year ending June 2022.


Number of violent crimes: 4,859

The town of Bridgend is a stone’s throw from the South Wales coastline, with its scenic beaches and great surfing opportunities. It’s also known for its music scene and being the hometown of some internationally acclaimed bands. Unfortunately, the town and the wider county have also made it onto this list of areas in Wales blighted by violent crime.

According to data recently compiled by South Wales Police, who are actually headquartered in Bridgend, the most widely-reported violent crimes include sexual offences, criminal damage and arson. A particularly distressing recent case was the murder of five-year-old Logan Mwangi, which led to the convictions of his mother, stepfather and stepbrother.

Neath Port Talbot

Number of violent crimes: 5,232

The county borough Neath Port Talbot encompasses several towns, including the eponymous communities of Neath and Port Talbot. The area is well-known for its sprawling steelworks, one of the largest in Europe. There’s also a strong celebrity connection: two of the most famous Welshmen of all time, the actors Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins, both grew up near Port Talbot.

A number of brutal crimes were reported in the region in 2022, including the fatal assault of a man outside a nightclub in Neath. Meanwhile, a prominent Port Talbot solicitor, whose decades-old firm had sponsored local sports teams, was hauled into court after stabbing one of his own directors.


Number of violent crimes: 8,464

The coastal hotspot of Swansea is one of the most famous cities in Wales, renowned for its beaches and for being the hometown of the legendary poet Dylan Thomas. It’s also the third-most dangerous area in the country, going by the statistics in our designated time frame. One particularly tragic case was the murder of a 71-year-old woman in her own home, which – in the words of a local detective – had caused ‘shock to the close-knit community of Clydach’ (just outside central Swansea).

Even more shockingly, a knife attack recently took place on Swansea’s main shopping street in the middle of the afternoon, with a man set upon by three assailants. Fortunately, nobody was killed.

Rhondda Cynon Taf

Number of violent crimes: 9,364

The Rhondda Cynon Taf county borough is located in the south-east of the country, encompassing several valleys and towns including Aberdare and Pontypridd. The area has a rich cultural history, with Aberdare having hosted the very first National Eisteddfod, and the likes of Tom Jones and the Stereophonics hailing from this part of Wales.

A number of murders have rocked Pontypridd in recent times. One of the most appalling was the murder of a woman who had been lured back to a man’s house after they met in a pub, only to be sexually assaulted, killed and dismembered. The police officer who discovered the body later broke down while testifying in court, saying: ‘I thought my eyes were deceiving me and I was watching some sort of horror movie.’


Number of violent crimes: 14,162

Cardiff has numerous claims to fame, from its picture-perfect castle which sits right in the heart of the shopping district, to its status as a prime filming location for iconic TV shows like Doctor Who and Sherlock. It’s also the largest city in Wales, so it probably won’t come as a surprise that it’s where most crimes take place.

Data from June 2022 showed that of the 3,647 crimes committed in the capital in that month, well over 1,000 were violent and sexual offences. June also saw the city deal with a particularly savage murder – the senseless stabbing of a local man on a Cardiff street, whose killer promptly went to buy a stereo and a book in preparation for prison. He was handed 26 years.