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The most dangerous postcodes in the UK

Map of London with 'Alert' signs in various areas
These figures have been compiled using official police data from UKCrimeStats | Image: DistantPixel/Shutterstock

Using official police data compiled by independent research platform UKCrimeStats, it’s possible to map out the ten postcodes which have seen the most violent crime – including sexual offences – in recent months. The case numbers listed below correspond to the period between February 2021 and February 2022.

10: CT9

Reported violent crimes: 4,295

Encompassing Margate and surrounding areas, CT9 ranks tenth on our list. Margate is, of course, one of south-east England’s best-known seaside towns, famous for its sandy beach and the Dreamland theme park.

It’s also hit the headlines for less pleasant reasons in recent times, with a local newspaper reporting in 2019 that a violent crime happens “every six-and-a-half hours”. That same year saw a particularly vicious crime in Margate – the murder of a father-of-five who was stabbed with a broken Sambuca bottle while out with his friends.

9: LE4

Reported violent crimes: 4,349

The LE4 postcode covers some suburban areas of Leicester and wider Leicestershire, including Beaumont Leys, Belgrave, and Thurmaston. Notable local attractions include the National Space Centre, which Buzz Aldrin himself once visited, and the Golden Mile, which is famed for its dazzling Diwali celebrations and its stretch of Indian restaurants, shops, and jewellers.

Unfortunately, the latter have been targeted by violent robbers over the years. Elsewhere in LE4, a particularly nasty 2020 incident saw a knifeman attack four people, including two children, completely at random. Fortunately, all survived.

8: LS9

Reported violent crimes: 4,448

Large swathes of Leeds are covered by LS9. These include Burmantofts just to the east of the city centre, which was once home to popular ceramics company Burmantofts Pottery. There’s also the suburban area of Mabgate, which made the local news in 2020 when the prestigious magazine Condé Nast Traveller applauded its artistic energy and dubbed it one of the “coolest neighbourhoods in the UK”.

LS9 is certainly no stranger to violent crimes, however. In 2020, a staggering 11 men were arrested for attempted murder when two victims were stabbed in Burmantofts – starkly highlighting the problem of gang violence in the area.

7: ME7

Reported violent crimes: 4,637

The Kent communities of Gillingham, Brompton, Hempstead, and Bredhurst fall within the ME7 postcode area. Namechecked in the Domesday Book, Gillingham’s history goes back a long way, and it was well-known for being home to much of Chatham Dockyard where hundreds of Royal Navy ships were built.

A number of crimes in this part of Kent have hit the headlines over the years, including a gang murder of a schoolboy which saw five teenagers jailed in 2018, and a fatal 2019 stabbing carried out on a Gillingham street in broad daylight by a teenage ‘county lines’ drug dealer.

6: BT1

Reported violent crimes: 4,750

This postcode casts a net over much of Belfast city centre, including the Baroque city hall with its many grand monuments. Dubbed ‘Linenopolis’ during the Victorian Age because of its importance as a linen manufacturer, the Northern Ireland capital was, of course, an epicentre of violent sectarian strife during the Troubles. Sadly, the city – from BT1 through to its outer reaches – still witnesses serious crimes today.

In March 2022, one man was branded a “walking crime spree” by a judge for a spate of infractions including assaults on police officers. In 2021, a Belfast man was shot dead in his car, execution-style, in a still-unsolved case thought to be linked to in-fighting between dissident republicans.

5: PR1

Reported violent crimes: 4,817

PR1 encompasses several parts of Preston. These include the city centre, Deepdale, and Riversway. Proud PR1 landmarks abound – they include the home stadium of Preston North End FC (the first winners of the Football League) and the imposing Harris Museum which features works by Lucian Freud and Stanley Spencer among others.

Yet, PR1 has also seen ugly, vicious crimes unfold, often involving gangs of schoolboys and young men. These have included the machete murder of a teenager in 2020, apparently over a £25 debt, and a street battle involving samurai swords in 2018.

4: LE2

Reported violent crimes: 5,532

Leicester/Leicestershire make another appearance in fourth place. Specifically, the LE2 postcode which includes the inner-city district of Highfields, suburban areas like Knighton, and quaint villages like Stoughton and Little Stretton. The latter has a special place in the annals of British crime as it was the setting of the infamous Green Bicycle Case of 1919, when a young woman was shot dead, leading to a sensational trial that saw the prime suspect walk free.

More recent crimes have tended to occur in Highfields. These include a double stabbing – fortunately not fatal – in 2021, and a fatal street stabbing later the same year which saw numerous suspects arrested.

3: FY1

Reported violent crimes: 5,787

Though it may seem counterintuitive, FY1 is the postcode for Blackpool. Since the Victorian age, it’s been synonymous with British seaside holidays, with the iconic Blackpool Tower proudly overlooking the rippling waves of the famous coastline. But the town has long had a darker side too.

Much has been said of Blackpool gang activities, including knife crime among school children, over the past decade. A strikingly egregious example of local violence shocked local residents in 2022 when a teenager was jailed for stabbing his ex-girlfriend’s father to death in his Blackpool home.

2: CR0

Reported violent crimes: 6,118

It’s perhaps surprising that London postcodes don’t make much of an appearance in this rundown. The exception is Croydon, which is technically part of London even if many still firmly think of it as Surrey. The CR0 postcode covers the bustling, culturally vibrant town of Croydon itself, along with other parts of the borough such as Addiscombe and Selhurst, where Crystal Palace FC is based.

Much like too many other parts of the UK, knife crime among young people has blighted this postcode. To take just two tragic examples, a teenage boy was stabbed to death in Croydon’s Ashburton Park in early 2022, and in 2021 a young man was killed in Croydon while attending a vigil for yet another stabbing victim.

1: LE3

Reported violent crimes: 6,241

The highest-ranking returns us to Leicestershire. Specifically, LE3, which applies to areas including Braunstone, Glenfield, and the popular, restaurant-packed Westcotes area, and is the most dangerous UK postcode going by the number of reported violent crimes.

In 2021, a convicted murderer cockily asked the judge “Are you sure you gave me enough?” as he was handed a 26-year-sentence for stabbing someone to death during an altercation in LE3. Similar, senseless altercations have cost lives in the postcode area, including a man who died after being brutally assaulted outside a bar in 2021.

Read more:

The worst postcodes for burglaries in the UK