Personal safety

The London Intelligence – Snapshot of Londoners – Spring 2022

Personal safety

Feelings of personal safety vary more by time of day than location​

The survey asked Londoners about whether they feel safe in the city, as this shapes whether they’re able to participate in the life of the city in the way that they want.​

One in 10 Londoners felt unsafe on their own in the city during the day – including on public transport. After dark, three in 10 felt unsafe in their local neighbourhood when on their own, and an even higher proportion felt unsafe taking public transport at night. Many would likely avoid travelling as a result of feeling unsafe, or would have to pay a lot more for a taxi. ​

While this poll asked about how safe people feel generally in a place, there is a lot of variation within these – for example depending on the quality of public lighting, how busy a space is, or whether someone is travelling on foot or using a bike or a scooter.

Some groups are less likely to feel safe at night

Of course all Londoners are not same boat when it comes to feeling safe at night – gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion shape how safe or unsafe we feel in public spaces. Young people, women, Asian Londoners, Muslim Londoners and LGBT+ people were more likely to feel unsafe in their local area at night. Many people hold several of these identities – Muslim women or young LGBT+ people will be even more likely to feel unsafe or very unsafe.

In this survey both the proportion of people who feel unsafe at night and the gap between men and women was lower than in the UK-wide Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, which found that 50 per cent of women felt unsafe walking alone after dark in a street near their home. There were differences in the wording of the question and the time of year the survey was taken –which may be behind the different answers.

When offered a list of measures to improve women’s safety, the most popular measure was making violence against women and girls a hate crime – this was supported by half of respondents. Older people (65+) were most likely to support this, at 71 per cent.

There was more support for respect and consent training in schools than in workplacesexcept among younger people and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Londoners.

There were no notable differences between which measures men and women supported, apart from focusing more police resource, which had lower support among men (37 per cent) than among women (48 per cent). Older groups also expressed most support for greater police resource (56 per cent)​.