Society & Culture23 mins ago
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City of London
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
Kingston upon Thames
Richmond upon Thames
Generally, south london and east london were considered the areas of most deprivation, but as said above even in the north and west you will find similar areas. But on the same note, you wouldn't want to be wandering around Leicester Sq or Covent Gdn in the early hours on your own.
If you tell us where you are thinking of living and the area of London you will be working, we could perhaps give more localised advice.
It's curious that, as a visitor, unless there are obvious signs (metal grates over doors and windows), the "dodgy" areas are indistinguishable from the nice areas. I was dropped off in Brixton during rush hour once by my traveling companion, who had to return our rental car. I had all our luggage, which I hauled to the Tube station (our plan was to meet up in Russell Square, where we had hotel reservations). Anyway, I didn't feel unsafe or uncomfortable in Brixton (maybe because I lived in Detroit...?), and a couple of strangers even helped me with my unwieldly suitcases up the stairs. (When I later related my travels to a British pal, he expressed surprised that I'd braved Brixton alone.)
The one area that *did* look dodgy to me was Goodge Street...I went for a solo walk one December night when I couldn't sleep, and got lost, and after lots of wandering finally found a Tube station. I remember it was an unstaffed station, and there was a man vomiting into a trash can. Just lots of unsavory types hanging around, and I mentally chastised myself for walking around alone night like that. But somehow, when in a foreign city, I had a false sense of security.
I agree that you can't really avoid the dodgy places. I live on the edge of West Hampstead, and have Swiss Cottage and Hampstead (both lovely) on one side, but then Kilburn and Cricklewood on the other, which I wouldn't walk through alone at night.
If you're moving to London, try to move near to one of the following places (I'm not going to mention anywhere south of the river, as I'm a northern girl):
St Johns Wood
Regents Park (yeh right)
Running out of ideas here....
You will never be totally safe, so if you stop worrying to much you will enjoy London for the rich multicultural society that it is!
The reason I said Brixton is that there was a documentary on it sometime back, which painted a really seedy picture. Maybe it was doctored in such a way, but it did seem like there were junkies all over the place, who carried knives and demanded money and stole your valuables. The doc showed dark alleyways, men being threatened with knives, etc.
An undercover male jounalist was in tears after being threatened by a man who pretended to be a concerned passerby , showing him the way. That was really scary, the way the attacker turned on him. The journalist had to run for his life - it was awful...
But as I said, this could just have been doctored.. it could have happened anywhere...