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How dangerous is Coventry?

Coventry was recently listed as the 7th most dangerous city in Europe by WorldAtlas, an organisation that ranks global demographic and socioeconomic problems across the globe.

That puts Coventry ahead of cities like Sarajevo, the former war-torn capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Glasgow, a city with a much larger population.

But does the list paint Coventry in an unfair light? A quick look at the latest crime figures from the office of National Statistics shows that 13.1 violent crimes were committed per 1000 people in Coventry during 2015. That is slightly lower than the national average of 13.5 per 1000, which should help reassure some residents.

According to the Home Office website, violent crime includes a range of offences, from minor assaults to wounding with intent and murder. In fact, around half of the violent incidents reported in the UK each year involve no physical harm to the victim.

However, that’s not to say Coventry doesn’t have its problems. If we drill down into the data further we can see that hospital admissions for violent crime in Coventry were 87.5 per 100,000, that is well above the national average of 52.4 per 100,000 and puts Coventry 7th in the list for violent crimes that resulted in hospital admissions.

Problem areas in Coventry

So it’s clear that, in the UK, Coventry has more than its fair share of violent crime, but not all of Coventry can be painted with the same brush. The vast majority of crime reported in Coventry is from just four areas, Willenhall, Foleshill, Hillfields, and Wood End/Bell Green, with the crime rate in these areas being more than double the rest of the city.

Local St Michaels councillor Jim O’Boyle told the Coventry Telegraph, there is no point in pretending we don’t have issues: “We have problems with prostitution and we have issues with anti-social behaviour and there’s criminality behind all of that. As councillors, we regularly speak to police and ask them to put as many resources into [these] areas as possible.”

As a result, local police are committing significant resources to fight crime in the most affected areas, with specialist officers patrolling Hillfields alongside partner agencies to tackle prostitution and foot patrols being increased in Edgwick Park to tackle antisocial behaviour such as on street drinking.

The local council has also committed to lowering crime rates by installing CCTV and improving street lighting. A recent council report also highlights issues such as career beggars and drunkenness in the street, which it claims could be solved by retailers voluntarily banning the sale of high-strength alcohol.

What you can do

Only time will tell if these measures are enough to bring crime rates down in the most affected neighbourhoods. However, in the meantime, residents and visitors can do several things to safeguard themselves from crime. Taking care not to walk alone on streets at night and to always keep personal belongings securely attached to the body, such as in internal coat pockets, can prevent against muggings and other crimes.

For homeowners, steps include replacing faulty locks on doors, ensuring any entry points for would-be thieves are repaired, such as broken windows and damaged fences, and installing a domestic CCTV system. Most crime, in particular burglary, is opportunistic in nature, so a visible CCTV system can prevent your property from being targeted by criminals. Also, knowing that your home is protected by CCTV will help you feel more secure.

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