CRF Blog

Social ills in Britain leave cities for suburbs and beyond

by David De La Torre

In Trouble spreads out, The Economist looks at how social problems in Britain are spreading to suburbia and rural areas.

Crime and other ills are all, thankfully, rarer than they were. But the improvement has been sharpest in inner cities, particularly in the parts that once seemed permanently blighted. In suburbs, seaside towns and rural villages progress has been slower; in some cases things have got worse. Like a stain on a carpet, social problems in Britain seem to be spreading even as they are cleaned up. They are less acute but more diffuse. That also makes them harder to fix.

Between 2008 and 2013 the annual number of murders in Britain’s three biggest urban police forces — the London Metropolitan Police, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands — declined by 34%. In the rest of the country, murder fell by just 7%. Burglaries have plummeted in inner London but have increased in some suburbs. [more]