If you are visiting the UK from the Democratic Republic of Congo or some other warzone, you can rest assured that wherever you go is going to feel very safe compared to where you’ve come from. However, all other visitors would probably appreciate a little nuance when it comes to their personal safety.
Is Brighton in England safe? Categorically? It’s as safe as an average English town according to the crime figures but people living in Brighton, apart from students, say they feel much safer than most people living in the UK do. Let’s take a look at whether Brighton is safe or not in more detail.
Is Brighton Safe to Live In?
If we are to put our faith in survey results, then Brighton is the third safest place to live in the UK. Respondents to a national poll showed that nearly half of everyone in Birmingham feared for their own safety and that residents of Sheffield, Manchester, London and Leicester were all nearly as unhappy about safety in their town.
The Safest Cities in the UK
Whereas folks from Edinburgh in Scotland felt the safest, followed by Bristol, then Brighton and Hove, with Southampton and Cambridge completing the five safest places in the country.
The trouble with this measure of safety is that it’s not very scientific. With only 2,000 people surveyed and no visibility of the questions asked, it’s impossible to tell if this is an accurate perception of any particular city.
However, if you’re thinking about moving to Brighton this result might be of interest to you because feeling safe is really all about “reported impressions” more than anything more concrete.
Crime In Brighton
It can help to drill down into actual crime data if you want to know how safe Brighton really is. If we take the period for June 2016 to May 2017 then there were nearly 33,000 crimes reported in Brighton.
They’re Anti, They’re Anti-Social
Of these nearly 10,000 crimes were “antisocial behaviour” which is ‘behaviour by a person which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to persons not of the same household as the person’ according to the Thames Valley Police Force.
That is the biggest amount of crime in Brighton is general unpleasantness and nothing particularly severe.
Violent crime makes up about 25% of all other crime in Brighton, theft is also a popular offence and peculiarly the fourth most common problem is “criminal damage and arson” which we have to assume is mainly “criminal damage” as we think 2,500 cases of arson would have made the national front pages and it didn’t.
The Numbers Aren’t Atypical
This might sound quite scary, but it shouldn’t do. If you compare Brighton to other towns of a similar size, its crime rate is pretty much the same as the national average.
In 2017, that meant Trafford, Worthing, Cheltenham, Exeter, Eastbourne, Hillingdon, Gloucester, Watford, Hounslow and Bournemouth all had lower crime rates than Brighton. Trafford, in particular, had a very low crime rate.
It also meant that Brighton came behind Reading, Oxford, Northampton and Southampton with Southampton having a very high crime rate compared to the other towns on the list.
That means while Brighton’s residents may think it’s the 3rd safest place to live in the country, in reality – it’s no safer and no more dangerous than most similar places in the country.
Is Crime Increasing in Brighton?
If you turn on your TV, you would be forgiven for thinking that the UK is in a state of permanent decline with violence on a dramatic rise and other crimes being committed constantly.
In truth, for many years up to and including 2013, the crime rate dropped precipitously in Brighton. There were 10,000 fewer crimes reported in 2014 than in 2011. However, there has been a tiny rise in reported crimes in Brighton since 2014.
There were, perhaps, approximately 1,000 more crimes committed in 2016 than 2014 but this is still 9,000 fewer crimes than in 2011.
So, yes, it appears that crime is slowly rising but this could be a statistical blip as there really aren’t enough data points for us to infer long-term trends.
Is Brighton Safe to Visit?
Yes. Brighton is a very safe city to visit when compared to most cities around the world. The overall rate of crime may be “normal” for the UK but crime across the UK is much lower than it is in many other countries.
The local taxi service is very reliable and you’re unlikely to find yourself being given an unasked-for tour of the city in a metered cab before being taken to your destination. Trains and buses are, as with everywhere in the UK, very safe to ride, though you may want to keep an eye out for pickpockets.
Speaking of pickpockets, they are the greatest risk to visitors to Brighton and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your valuables in busy tourist areas and when on public transport.
Mugging is not a popular crime in Brighton and unless you’re walking through the wrong area late at night on your own, it seems highly unlikely that you would be mugged when visiting the city.
Some websites say that you are at a high risk of terrorist attacks throughout the UK, but we’d like to point out that you’re more likely to die from falling out of your own bed than you are of dying in a terror attack in the UK.
You might want to keep an eye out for typical scams played on tourists, but we’ve never encountered any of these ourselves.
Solo female travellers are going to be pleased to learn, that as long as they take basic precautions and use common sense, they are at no special risk in Brighton.
Is Brighton Safe for Students?
Now, this is an area that you might think was up for debate. In 2014, the Telegraph ran a story declaring Brighton to be the least safe city in the country for students with 829 crimes per thousand residents.
This is a number so preposterous that it ought to have been laughed out of town when it was raised. It is unlikely that you would see 829 incidents for every 1,000 residents in the middle of a war zone let alone in friendly Brighton.
The research methodology here is fundamentally flawed and can be safely ignored. The truth is that Brighton is no more dangerous and no safer than anywhere else in the country whether or not you are a student.
Brighton did not get singled out as unsafe by students in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 nor in 2019 (so far and it’s very nearly December at the time of writing). Nor did it appear in any such rankings in the years before 2014 for that matter.
Is Brighton Safe for Families?
Brighton and Hove are considered the two best places to live in Sussex according to a poll and yes, that means Brighton is safe for families.
There are no special precautions that you need to take when bringing children to the city. As with most of the UK now, CCTV coverage in Brighton is near total and that means that the risks of child abduction or assault are as low as they can possibly be.
However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep an eye on your children, either, kids can always get up to mischief anywhere in the world.
Is Brighton Safe at Night?
It is reasonable to say that no city is as safe at night as it is during the day. In a tourist town like Brighton, people are likely to be out enjoying a few beers most evenings and drunken behaviour may lead to violence and other forms of antisocial behaviour.
However, as long as you employ common sense at night and in particular you do so in the areas around the beach, in the main city, then you should be fine. Mugging is not a major problem in Brighton and it’s harder to effectively pickpocket someone late at night too.
Sexual assault is a risk for women but not a significant one and you can keep the risks of assault to a minimum by walking with others or taking a taxi for any significant journey at night.
These are the Areas to avoid in Brighton
There are no areas in Brighton which you need to be afraid of travelling to. There are 21 wards in Brighton proper and the one which sees the most crime is the Regency ward followed by St Peter’s and North Laine but as these are both city centre areas – this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
If you want the statistically safest place to live and visit in Brighton, it’s the ward of North Portslade which sees approximately 5% of the crime of the Regency Ward! Frankly, because everyone is in the centre of town.
Yes, Brighton in England is a safe place to visit and to live in. It has a normal rate of crime when compared to other similar-sized cities and the residents of the city report that they feel safe too.