How safe is Reading?

Reading is a large town in the county of Berkshire, in the Thames Valley region of England. Located 75 miles east of Bristol, 25 miles south of Oxford, and 42 miles west of London, it is an important commercial centre in Southern England.

When you include its suburbs, Reading has a population of approximately 235,000, making it the largest settlement in the UK without city status. Reading borough itself has a population of approximately 160,000. It is ethnically diverse, with 9.1% of its inhabitants identifying as South Asian, 6.7% identifying as black, 3.9% as mixed race and 4.5% as Chinese. There is also a large Polish community in Reading.

But how safe is Reading?

Between June 2016 and May 2017, there were 16,337 crimes committed in Reading borough. Antisocial behaviour was the most commonly seen crime, with 3,481 offences reported – just over 21% of total crime in Reading borough. Violent crime was the second-most-recorded offence, with 3,142 crimes reported – about 19% of all crime.

The third most common crime in Reading borough is other theft, i.e., not theft from a person, car theft or bike theft. There were 1,592 reported incidents of other theft within this time period – just under 10% of all crime. Criminal damage and arson was next, with 1,541 crimes (9.5%) reported. This was followed by shoplifting at 1,521 crimes (9%), and then vehicle crime, with 1,233 crimes (7.5%). The seventh most frequent crime in Reading borough was burglary, with 1,126 reported crimes (7%).


Reading crime comparison

The most commonly seen crimes in Reading borough are antisocial behaviour and violent crime, but when looking at other regions, how does overall crime in Reading compare?

In the year ending March 2017, the crime rate in Reading was higher than average for the Thames Valley force area.

Compared with other districts in the Thames Valley force area, Reading saw higher crime than Wycombe, West Berkshire, Windsor & Maidenhead, South Buckinghamshire, Wokingham, Cherwell, Milton Keynes and Slough. Only Oxford reported higher crime within the Thames Valley area.

Is crime in Reading increasing?

From the graph above, we can see that the crime rate in Reading is higher than average, but is this due to an increase in crime, or has the crime rate in Reading remained static?


To examine this, let’s look at the number of crimes reported for the first quarters of the past few years. In January, February and March 2017, there was a total of 4,339 crimes reported in Reading. In 2016, there were 3,528 crimes reported for this same period. In 2015, there were 3,340 crimes reported in those three months, and in 2014, the total number during this period was 3,349.


From this data, we can see that crime in Reading, indeed, has increased, particularly in the past year.


Safest areas in Reading

The crime rate in Reading has increased, but which areas report the most crime, and which report the least?


Reading contains 15 wards, of which the safest statistically is Thames, which reported only 12 crimes during May 2017. The next safest is Peppard, which saw 18 offences that May. Kentwood is the third-safest area in Reading, with 45 crimes reported during that month, then Southcote, which saw 52 crimes.


Based on this same data, the area that sees the most crime is Abbey, which reported 474 crimes during May 2017, followed by Battle, with 168 crimes, then Whitley, with 118 crimes. Redlands is next, with 95 crimes for May, and Katesgrove follows this, with 89 crimes.


Reading crime map

Thames Valley Police

Reading is policed by Thames Valley Police, which is the largest non-metropolitan police force in England and Wales. Thames Valley Police serve the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, with a total population of over 2 million people across an area of 2,216 square miles.


In the PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment, Thames Valley Police were assessed as good in their effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime, and also good in their efficiency and legitimacy at keeping the public safe and decreasing crime.


The report found that Thames Valley Police sustained its good performance in preventing crime and tackling antisocial behaviour, and used original methods to understand the problems affecting the people of Thames Valley. The report also determined that the force generally investigates crime to a good standard and responds effectively to organised crime.

Sussex Police

Reading crime-prevention tips

Reading sees more crime than other areas in the Thames Valley district, but if you take the correct precautions, you can reduce your chances of being affected. Thames Valley Police suggest the following to best protect your family and home:

   ● Always lock windows and doors if you’re not in a room.

   ● Never leave car keys or house keys out in the open, especially within window view.

   ● When you’re out, set timer lights to make it appear as though someone is home.

   ● Always lock side gates to prevent anyone from accessing the back of your home.

   ● Always lock ladders and garden tools away.

   ● Ensure you have a working intruder alarm system installed.

   ● Ensure that you have a deterrent sign clearly visible on the facade of your home.

   ● Fit security lighting in your garden.

   ● Use door chains and spyholes before opening your door.

You can have a look at our range of smart alarms and security features.

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