Looking for a new home means taking a whole host of factors into consideration, from traffic and weather to schools and safety. One factor for many prospective home buyers is crime. Different regions of the country have different levels of crime, and crime rates are one of many factors influencing home prices. If you're looking for a low-crime place to live, here are a few areas you might want to consider.
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Dyfed and Powys
Dyfed-Powys Police reported one of the lowest crime rates in the UK in the year leading up to September 2012, with just over 40 crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) offenses per 1,000 inhabitants, well below the average of 66.86 for England and Wales. Only the City of London, with its unusual habitation patterns, showed fewer incidents. Carmarthernshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, together with Powys, are primarily rural areas with few large towns, a pattern that tends to go hand-in-hand with low crime rates.
Norwich and York
Although rural areas generally have much lower crime than urban ones, this doesn't mean that all towns are hotbeds of violence. Both Norfolk and North Yorkshire, which contain the medium-sized cities of Norwich and York, showed crime rates well below the national average for England and Wales, both under 46 crimes and anti-social behaviour incidents per 1,000 inhabitants for the period ending September 2012. Slight fluctuations in the data put North Yorkshire slightly above Norfolk for the year ending September 2012, robbing York of its claim to be "England's safest city," but the figures are still highly encouraging.
Dumfries and Galloway
As in England and Wales, rural areas of Scotland tend to have much lower crime rates than their urban counterparts. Police in Dumfries and Galloway reported the lowest crime rates in Scotland in the year 2011-2012. Unsurprisingly, cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow showed higher crime rates. Lothian and Borders Police, which is responsible for Edinburgh, recorded just under 60 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants, while Strathclyde, which includes Glasgow, recorded nearly 70.
Although stereotypes of Northern Ireland often dwell on its history of violence and sectarian strife, crime statistics are actually low and, as of February 2013, declining. The year leading up to February 2013 saw a 3.5% decrease in recorded crime in Northern Ireland. Overall, Northern Ireland's average crime rate is actually slightly lower than the average crime rate for England and Wales.
Within each city or county, of course, there are significant variations from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, and even from street to street. Comparison sites such as crimerates.co.uk allow users to compare individual towns or villages. Statistics can be difficult -- some sites use total number of crimes within a radius of a certain point, while others use a distribution based on population. Both can be misleading -- sparsely-inhabited areas may have little crime per square mile, but you're likely to be moving around much more if you live there. By contrast, densely-populated areas will concentrate a lot of crime in a small area, meaning that it will be very obvious to residents even if they aren't necessarily likely to be victims themselves.
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