The UK’s shoplifting hotspots

Shoplifting is on the rise in the UK, mainly due to the constantly rising cost of living and food prices that are subject to the most rapid increase in over four decades. In the 12-month period to March 2023, several grocery items saw a price rise of over 40%, with cucumbers (52%), olive oil (49%), and hard cheese (44%) showing the highest annual growth.

The number of reported shoplifting incidents soared in the most deprived regions of the UK, where the crisis has hit the hardest. In 2022, the England and Wales Police processed nearly 296K reports, a 24% increase compared to 2021. Scotland also saw an increase, albeit by a smaller percentage of approx 10.3% (22,913 vs 20,557 offences). The only exception is Northern Ireland where shoplifting has been on a constant decline since 2016.

But where in the UK is shoplifting most prevalent? Our team at TradingPedia decided to analyse the available data in order to find out which parts of the country are most affected, and to display the findings on a colour-coded map.


While compiling the report, we used information contained in the following official data sources:

Localities’ shoplifting rates were calculated based on 100,000 residents.

The Areas with the Highest Shoplifting Rates per Capita

The most dangerous UK region in terms of shoplifting is the North East with an average rate of 778 offences per 100,000 people as confirmed by the Office of National Statistics. What is more, as many as 3 of the areas with the highest number of offences per capita in 2022 are located there – Cleveland, Durham, and Northumbria.

However, neither of these is the UK shoplifting hotspot. It is hardly surprising that the crown belongs to the City of London. With a population of 8,600 residents, it recorded 680 shoplifting incidents in 2022, which pushes its crime rate to 7,907 per 100,000 residents. Its score far surpasses the ones of Cleveland and Nottinghamshire which make up the Top 3 with shoplifting rates of 1,172 and 1,005 offences per 100,000 people. According to CrimeRate, the City of London is the most unsafe small city and one of the most dangerous localities overall, with various types of crimes taken into account.

The second most dangerous UK region for shoplifting is Yorkshire and The Humber, with an average crime rate of 702 offences per 100,000 residents. It is the home of another 3 of the areas with the most offences per capita – Humberside, West Yorkshire, and South Yorkshire with shoplifting rates of 848, 759, and 687, respectively.

The Areas with the Lowest Shoplifting Rates per Capita

As per data provided by the Office of National Statistics, the South East is the wealthiest UK region with over 50% of its households not deprived in any area. It is there that Surrey, the county that secures the lowest shoplifting rate, is located. In the year to December 2022, the Police recorded a mere 309 offences per 100,000 individuals, which is nearly 96% lower than in the City of London.

It is worth noting that unlike the areas with the highest number of shoplifting incidents per capita, the least dangerous localities are rather uniformly scattered across the UK.

The second safest area in terms of shoplifting covers the former administrative unit of Dyfed and the unitary authority of Powys in Wales. With a population of 516,100, it recorded 1,774 crimes last year, which amounts to 344 offences per 100K residents. Dyfed-Powys is followed by Warwickshire and Leicestershire with crime rates of 377 and 386, respectively.

The shoplifting rates of North Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Norfolk are almost identical. In 2022, the three counties had 396, 398, and 401 recorded shoplifting crimes per 100K people. Other major UK areas with favourable safety records in regard to the number of offences are Cumbria, Cheshire, and Suffolk, with crime rates of 402, 405, and 408.

Raw Data by Area

RkArea NameShoplifting crimes per capita (100K residents)
1City of London7907
5West Yorkshire759
6Aberdeen City730
7Dundee City720
9South Yorkshire687
13South Wales635
15North Wales589
16City of Edinburgh580
17Avon and Somerset568
18West Midlands565
19Greater Manchester553
21West Mercia546
29Glasgow City460
33Metropolitan Police433
34Thames Valley424
42North Yorkshire396
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