London’s most dangerous and safest boroughs for cash point muggings revealed

Nick Charity
Muggers targeting cash machine users has risen in the capital - but those in some small towns are more at risk: PA Wire/PA Images

The most dangerous places to use a cash machine in the capital have been revealed in a new report.

Tourist hotspot Westminster was named as the London borough with the highest number of thefts and robberies close to an ATM over the past decade.

Police recorded 265 incidents in the borough out of a total of 1,386 recorded across the capital since 2007.

Westminster was followed by Camden, Lambeth, Newham and Kensington & Chelsea. Data was not available for the City of London.

Bexley, in south east London, saw the lowest number of incidents with just four logged over ten years.

Greater Manchester Police recorded the most cash point muggings with 1,497 incidents logged in the force's jurisdiction.

The Met Police came in second and Nottinghamshire Police ranked third recording 1,175 thefts.

Data revealed by FOI request shows the most dangerous areas of London to withdraw cash. (MoneySuperMarket)

The area with the most incidents compared to population size was Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk where statistically one in 415 people had been mugged.

A MoneySuperMarket survey found Britons are still making 1.5 cash transactions each day, and a third of people believe cash will always have a role to play in society.

London’s top five safest boroughs to use a cash machine

Total incidents / Incidents per capita

Bromley (8 - 40,861pc)

Kingston (8 - 22,013pc)

Richmond (8 - 24,481pc)

Sutton (5 - 40,444pc)

Bexley (4 - 61,190pc)

And despite the lower use of cash in general, the number of thefts near ATMs has continued to grow – London saw 58 per cent more incidents in 2017 than in 2007.

The data was acquired through Freedom of Information requests, submitted to police forces, asking for the numbers of thefts from a person and thefts of property close to cash machines over the last 10 years.

But when broken down into the number of incidents per capita, London ranked 153rd on a list of 273 areas that responded to requests.

Here is the full list of London Boroughs:

London Borough

# of Thefts/Robberies at ATMs

Westminster

265

Camden

132

Newham

111

Lambeth

88

Tower Hamlets

64

Redbridge

49

Hackney

48

Islington

48

Brent

47

Southwark

47

Barking & Dagenham

46

Ealing

43

Kensington & Chelsea

40

Haringey

39

Hillingdon

33

Waltham Forest

31

Harrow

30

Barnet

26

Hounslow

24

Havering

23

Wandsworth

20

Croydon

18

Enfield

18

Hammersmith & Fulham

18

Lewisham

18

Greenwich

16

Merton

9

Bromley

8

Kingston Upon Thames

8

Richmond upon Thames

8

Sutton

5

Bexley

4

Heathrow

2

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Cash is still king as far as many criminals are concerned, and ATMs are their ideal hunting ground. This police data highlights the importance of being vigilant and cautious when using an ATM, even in a quiet market town where you might not expect to encounter a problem.

“If someone robs your cash or steals your card, you should immediately report it to the police. Report a stolen credit or debit card and cancel it immediately, and keep an eye out for fraudulent transactions on your account.”

Commander Amanda Pearson from the Met's Front Line Policing team said: “Cash point theft can be a very traumatic experience which can have a long-lasting impact on victims.

"The Met is continually working hard to prevent offences occurring, arrest offenders and support victims of crime. Please be vigilant and if you see anything suspicious contact police with a description of the people and any vehicle they are using. In the event you witness a crime in progress call 999 immediately. The sooner police are notified that a theft is taking place, the greater the likelihood of solving the crime.”

The Evening Standard has approached Westminster, Camden, Newham, Lambeth, and Kensington & Chelsea councils for comment.

MoneySupermarket’s tips for staying safe at ATMs

Avoid tourist hotspots: Consider moving away from the main tourist areas to get cash out. Pickpockets target busy areas with larger numbers of tourists, such as Westminster in London, so be alert if you have to withdraw funds in these areas.

Know who's around: Always make sure no one is looking over your shoulder and cover the keypad when entering your pin – know your surroundings and use a different cashpoint if someone nearby is acting suspiciously.

Secure your cash: Make sure you’ve secured your withdrawn money in your wallet, purse or bag, zipped up if possible, to reduce the chances of someone attempting to steal it.

Small town risks: Don’t assume that because you’re not in a major city there’s no risk when taking cash out. It’s worth being aware wherever you are in the country.

Hidden traps: Look out for cameras installed on the cashpoint, or anything else that seems suspicious – thieves have many methods of stealing your card details.

Block stolen cards: If you do become the victim of a theft or robbery and your bank card is stolen, call the police and then block the card so no money can be spent – especially if it is a credit card. Some banks offer features on their mobile apps that mean you can freeze and unfreeze your card at the touch of a button.

For more information visit MoneySupermarket’s page: Most Dangerous ATMs in the UK.