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Security in Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf Station — Zone 2
The financial center of Canary Wharf is undergoing a transition.
Built in the 1980s, this cluster of office buildings holding the majority of the UK’s financial sector has pivoted from attracting solely finance businesses, towards a mix of technology.
As this docklands area has developed, transport links have improved and it has also become a desirable part of London to live. This has resulted in ever-increasing numbers of residential developments in the area.
The Canary Wharf Group itself is developing an entirely new area adjacent to the center known as Wood Wharf. This is the first residential area built on the private estate, and this development, alongside several other premium new residential developments across the Isle of Dogs, are marketing the safety of the area as a selling point.
Here we will take a look at the stats, and see if Canary Wharf and the surrounding areas are as safe as it is claimed.
Canary Wharf is located in zone 2 on the London tube’s Jubilee line, approximately 4.6 miles to the south east of central London.
To get an overview of the crime statistics in Canary Wharf we need to look at local authority data alongside Metropolitan Police data for the whole of London.
Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs are covered by the E14 postcode, falling under the umbrella of Tower Hamlets local authority.
The first place to start looking for crime statistics is a comparison of this borough vs the rest of London.
Initially looking at an overview of crime in London, Tower Hamlets doesn’t fare particularly well.
Data sourced from the Metropolitan Police shows that approximately 35,000 crimes were carried over the course of one year from June 2019 to 2020.
To put this into perspective, the worst performing London Borough was Westminister with 73,603 reported crimes, roughly double the amount of Tower Hamlets. However the best performing borough was Kingston with just 13,221, or roughly a third of the crime of Tower Hamlets.
Looking at the crime rate – the number of crimes carried out per 1000 inhabitants – Tower Hamlets ranks 10th out of the 32 London Boroughs with 109.2 crimes per 1000.
Looking at the data for Tower Hamlets as a whole is fine for a general overview, but it doesn’t give us many specifics about the safety of Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs area.
Tower Hamlets is one of the largest boroughs in London and as such the statistics cover a vast demographic. It is estimated there are over 300,000 people in Tower Hamlets.
To dig down further into the data and see the specifics to how safe Canary Wharf is, we need to look at individual Wards. Wards are the individual subdivided areas, within the London boroughs.
As of 2013, there are 20 wards in Tower Hamlets with two main wards of interest to us:
Blackwall and Cubitt Town also covers other existing developments in the eastern side of the peninsula such as Baltimore Tower.
Looking at the reports generated by the London Mayors office, we can see a clear trend in crime across the Tower Hamlets. In terms of persistent crime, this is the percentage of reoffenders per 1000 people in the area, the stats are interesting.
The map shows the two wards of interest to us, Canary Wharf, and Blackwell and Cubitt Town with significantly lower persistent crime rates than other areas of Tower Hamlets.
We have seen that Canary Wharf is significantly safer than other areas of Tower Hamlets, but when comparing crime statistics for the private estate versus the Isle of Dogs peninsula it is difficult to draw conclusions.
Island Gardens is the final ward that makes up the southern tip of the Isle of Dogs, and all three wards have some of the lowest reoffending rates, colouring the entire peninsula green in the map displaying relative crime rates.
In fact looking at the data it shows that on the peninsula, Island Gardens is the safest part of Tower Hamlets, not Canary Wharf.
Reoffending rates are as follows:
Interestingly the area covering the Canary Wharf private estate and the area covering the groups new residential offering, Wood Wharf, both have marginally higher reoffending rates than the slightly more residential Island Gardens.
However, with such a small sample size, significant variations in the number of retail units and footfall, alongside the fact that the private estate makes up less than half of the Canary Wharf ward, it is too difficult to draw anything substantial from this minor difference.
The only conclusion we can draw, is that the entirety of the Isle of Dogs peninsula is one of the safest areas of Tower Hamlets.
CCTV covers virtually all areas of the estate, however what sets the area apart from other areas in London is the private security force.
There are nearly five hundred security security staff that operate across the estate. Whilst many wear uniform similar to the Met Police, there is also a significant plain clothes presence.
In addition to manpower, the private security elements have cars; vans, dog teams and even boats to carry out maritime patrols.
While they are only a private security force, and therefore have limited powers under UK law, the security group at Canary Wharf do have close ties with the Metropolitan Police. This connection even goes as far as issuing radios, so that the two groups can get in contact more quickly.
Outside the Canary Wharf private estate, many of the developers creating the residential areas across the peninsula have also realised the importance of security measures.
Starting with the basics, there is an abundance of outside lighting, with well lit streets and open pathways connecting the developments.
The 24 hour nature of the area also helps; there are several international hotel chains, and round the clock office hours in the financial sector, alongside night tube and 24 hour bus services, ensuring that there are always people around.
Virtually all of the developments looked at have 24 hour concierge and their own CCTV systems and electronic key entry. There is also a myriad of additional features that individual developments have implemented for their residents:
A combination of the measures put in place by the developers and the Canary Wharf estate helps to ensure that Canary Wharf is fundamentally a safe place to live.
This is backed up by the data, and the corresponding crime rates in Canary Wharf and in fact the entirety of the Isle of Dogs peninsula are some of the lowest across Tower Hamlets and indeed London.
So to answer the original question, having reviewed the data and the additional measures taken:
Yes. The Canary Wharf estate is a private estate with nearly 500 security staff. As a result the immediate area has demonstrably lower crime rates than the majority of London boroughs.