Crime and income deprivation

Crimes recorded by neighbourhood income deprivation decile in London (March 2020-February 2021)

Recorded crime in London is more prevalent in the neighbourhoods with the highest levels of income deprivation:

  • Overall, 80% more crimes were recorded in the most income-deprived areas;
  • Violence, robbery and sexual offences are 2.6 times more prevalent in the most income-deprived 10% of areas compared to the least income-deprived 10%; and 
  • Drugs and weapons offences are 2.3 times more prevalent in the most income-deprived 10% of areas compared to the least income-deprived 10%. 

This latest crime data for London's Poverty Profile (covering March 2020 - February 2021) shows a significant change in the distribution of reported offences compared to the March 2019 - February 2020 period, probably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst crime in the most deprived neighbourhoods increased by 15% between the two periods, it decreased by 18% in the least deprived neighbourhoods. Reports of theft and shoplifting fell by nearly 40%, but anti-social behaviour, public order and miscellaneous increased by two-thirds. 

These figures only scratch the surface of what is undoubtedly a complex relationship between crime and deprivation. For example, these figures only look at crime reported to and recorded by London’s police forces. As only a subset of crimes are brought to the police’s attention, the overall levels are almost certainly higher than indicated here. It is also likely that people have differing likelihoods of reporting a crime to the police.

Crimes recorded by neighbourhood income deprivation decile in London (pre-pandemic) (March 2019-February 2020)