The safest places for people over 60 to live in England and Wales
Last updated 24th October 2023
5 min read
Feeling safe in your home is a basic right that we all deserve. But sometimes, this feeling of safety can begin to feel a little shaky, both in and out of the house.
So what factors affect the safety of a location? For people over 60, these can include the obvious, such as burglaries and thefts from persons (this is when someone steals something that’s being held or carried by the victim). But factors such as flu mortality rates and ambulance response times also affect an area’s safety.
At SunLife, we’ve analysed these factors across England and Wales to find the safest place to live for people over 60. Note that this data was compiled in October 2022.
Top 20 safest towns for people over 60
When ranked for all the factors mentioned above, the overall safest town is Chorley in Lancashire. Although not scoring top for any individual factor, this northern market town has low burglary and theft from person rates, and a fairly decent ambulance response time.
Wokingham in Berkshire comes up second, scoring well for theft from persons and ambulance response times. But it’s the low burglary rate that makes it stand out, with the ninth lowest rating in the country.
In third place is the former mill town of Wigan. Situated in Greater Manchester, Wigan has the second lowest theft from person rate in the UK. It only falls below both Chorley and Wokingham because of its higher flu mortality rate.
The safest towns in England and Wales for people over 60
The safest counties for people over 60
According to our findings, Staffordshire is the safest county out of England and Wales. It contains lots of towns and cities, including Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent and Burton-upon-Trent. Overall, it’s the most consistently low, on average, when taking into account burglaries, theft, ambulance waiting times and flu mortality.
In second place is Greater Manchester, with local town Wigan having the second lowest theft rate in the country. And Chorley scored consistently well for overall safety, which helped the area score well overall.
We stay in the North West for third place, heading just south of Manchester to the county of Cheshire. It sits on England's border with Wales and contains Chester, Crewe and Stockport.
The safest counties in England and Wales for people over 60
|2||Greater Manchester||North West|
|10||North Yorkshire||North East|
The area with the lowest flu mortality rate in the UK is Tower Hamlets. In London’s East End and famous for the Tower of London, Tower Hamlets has a flu mortality rate of 3.53 per 1,000 people.
In second place we don’t have to go very far, with the City of London picking up silver. This ceremonial county has a flu mortality rate of 3.66 per 1,000 people.
London features yet again in third, as Westminster – known for being the home of the Houses of Parliament – has a mortality rate of 4.09 per 1,000 people.
Ambulance response times
London takes the top spot for ambulance response times by region. The London Ambulance Service has an average response time of seven minutes and thirty-eight seconds for the highest priority (Category 1) emergencies – just taking first place by a single second.
In second comes the North East. Covering cities such as Newcastle and Sunderland, the North East Ambulance Service has an average response time of seven minutes and thirty-seven seconds.
The North West comes up third. Covering a wide range of towns and cities including Liverpool and Manchester, the North West Ambulance Service has an average response time of seven minutes and fifty-five seconds. This makes it seventeen seconds faster than the West Midlands Ambulance Service in fourth.
Torridge takes the crown for the area with the lowest burglary rate in England and Wales. Located in North Devon on the Cornwall border, Torridge had 1.75 burglaries per 1,000 people.
In second place is Teignbridge on Devon’s south coast. Famous for its coastal train route, Teignbridge has 1.79 burglaries per 1,000 people.
In third it’s Devon again, this time in neighbouring South Hams, which sits next to Plymouth. It has 2.16 burglaries per 1,000 people.
Thefts from persons
The lowest theft from persons rate is in Lincolnshire – the home of the Royal Air Force. North Kesteven, south of Lincoln, has a theft from persons rate of 0.08 per 1,000 people.
North Kesteven is actually joint first with West Lindsay in North Lincolnshire. The second to make the top three from England’s second-biggest county, with a rate of 0.08 thefts per 1,000 people.
In third place is Ceredigion on the west coast of Wales, which is home to the university seaside town of Aberystwyth. Ceredigion’s theft rate per 1,000 people is 0.11.
Tips on how to stay safe:
1. Book and go for your flu and COVID-19 vaccines
Flu vaccines are free if you’re over 65(www.nhs.uk opens in a new tab). Similarly, anyone over 65 should be invited for their seasonal COVID-19 vaccine(www.nhs.uk opens in a new tab).
These viruses are more common in autumn and winter, so it’s vital to do what we can to protect ourselves and others.
2. Always lock your door and windows
Whether you’re in the house or not, it’s good to get into the habit of locking your doors at all times. It’s easy for a thief to quietly enter a house, even when you’re in.
3. Invest in a doorbell camera
If possible, you might want to buy a doorbell camera. They can be pricey, but can give you an extra layer of security at home – especially when you’re home alone or away.
The camera connects your doorbell to a phone, so you can vet anyone who comes to the door. Many models also act as a security camera, with motion sensors that start recording anyone at your door, even if they don’t ring the bell.
4. Ask for ID when a 'professional' calls
If you answer the door to someone you don’t know who claims to offer a service, or who is insisting they’re from a big company, always ask for ID.
If you still don’t feel comfortable, call the company to see if that person works for them. These types of door-to-door scams are usually either to distract you while someone else enters your home, or to scope your home to see what there is to steal.
A list of UK locations was gathered and then ranked based on four factors: burglaries, thefts from persons, flu mortality rates and ambulance response times. This data was compiled in October 2022.
Each factor's individual figure was ranked against the figures from other locations. Those scoring the lowest were considered the best and then each rank was added to find the overall best locations.
Flu mortality data was based on deaths over the age of 50 in each location. Ambulance response times were taken from the regional figures, as these were the most up to date provided.
Ambulance response times: NHS Ambulance Quality Indicators(www.england.nhs.uk opens in a new tab)
Flu mortality: Nomis(www.nomisweb.co.uk opens in a new tab)
Burglary and theft from person figures: UK Crime Statistics(ukcrimestats.com opens in a new tab)
At SunLife, we also offer a range of services to help you make the most of life after 50: