As one of the Home Counties, Essex is a highly sought after place to live. There’s a variety of cities, towns and villages to choose from, and the large area offers coastal locations as well as beautiful countryside. The fact that Essex is easily connected to London is just another added bonus.

However, when choosing an area to live it’s important to consider the local crime rates and the risk to your property. Everybody wants to live in a safe neighbourhood – yet crime across the UK is on the up. In the past few years, figures from the National Office for Statistics show that violent crime has increased in almost all areas of the nation – all but one of the 43 police forces recorded an increase, some of up to a 73% rise. Serious incidents such as knife crime have risen by a quarter in Essex.

Last year the county’s Daily Gazette reported the recorded crime rate in Essex has increased by 12.9% compared to the national average of 7.8%. Worryingly, in more than 90% of recorded crimes in Essex nobody was charged. This means that criminals are free to strike again.

According to police figures, here are the crime hotspots in Essex to watch out for:

Fryerns, Basildon

In this small neighbourhood of Basildon, the most reported crime is anti-social behaviour followed by violence and sexual offences, criminal damage and burglary.

Moulsham, Chelmsford

In 2017 there were on average 245 crimes reported in this area every single month.

Grays South and Grays Central, Thurrock

The most dangerous area of Thurrock in relation to crime is Grays South and Grays Central. From possession of weapons to violence and sexual behaviour, recorded crime is highest in these neighbourhoods.

Keeping Safe in Essex

Of course, crime is a nationwide problem and generally Essex is regarded as a very safe county to live in. If you are concerned about rising crime in your area, taking some extra security steps can put your mind at ease. Always be alert when walking alone in public, and try and stick to main roads and busy train stations.

Additionally you may want to make sure you are safe at home, and protect your property when it is vacant. Make sure you have an efficient intruder alarm installed – this can be enough to deter burglars for targeting your home. CCTV systems go even further to reduce crime and can be used as police evidence for criminal damage, arson or burglary. You can also contact your neighbourhood policing team if you have any concerns about the local area, or join a neighbourhood watch scheme.