A multi-million pound divorce case in the High Court had to consider an interesting London question this week, the relative safety of some neighbourhoods.
A woman fighting her ex husband for a settlement that includes a £5 million house in Kensington told the court that she felt ‘frightened’ when she left the area. She had rejected alternative homes suggested by her ex valued at around £2.5 million in the ‘less opulent’ areas of Shepherd’s Bush and Battersea.
But was her faith in the security of the Royal Borough misplaced? As the couple remain anonymous it’s not possible to look at the exact locations of all the homes involved but the crime rates for the different boroughs may offer some surprises.
Affluent and exclusive Kensington and Chelsea has a crime rate of 121 offences per 1,000 residents, according to data from the GLA. It’s the fourth highest rate in London and well above the city average of 84.
Shepherd’s Bush is in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It neighbours Kensington and Chelsea and has a slightly lower crime rate of 113 offences per 1,000 residents.
The more secure option may have been the Battersea home. Battersea is in the borough of Wandsworth where crime is well below average at 72 per 1,000 people.
The judge, Mrs Justice Roberts, ruled that the alternatives put forward by the ex-husband were in ‘respectable and established family residential areas’.
She said: “Even allowing for the fact that she clearly has an anxious personality, I am not persuaded that any of these areas can be characterised as unsafe or inappropriate, devoid of the kind of amenities usually associated with areas occupied by professional families and others.”
The judge decided that the woman needed a housing fund of £2.5 million not the £5 million she was asking for.
If safety is her utmost concern then she might consider boroughs where the crime rate is less than half that of Kensington and Chelsea. Harrow has the lowest crime rate in London – just 50 crimes per 1,000 residents. In Bexley the rate is 52 and in Sutton it is just 56. None, of course, are as fashionable.