To people living near them, public sector workers, the emergency services and police they are places to approach with care or avoid altogether.
Most have distinct identities, marking them out from their surroundings. They share higher than average unemployment, low home ownership and a high percentage of young males with time on their hands. Many are plagued by drugs, delinquency and violence, and some have seen violent clashes with the police.
This map was compiled using information from local police officers, fire and ambulance services, local authorities and the local media. It is by no means exhaustive or definitive. Some will say their area has been included unfairly, or that efforts to improve it have not been taken into account. Others will know of districts which qualify for inclusion but have been omitted.
The purpose is not to stigmatise.
Such places have always existed in Britain. The Gorbals in pre-war Glasgow, the Rookeries in Dickensian London. But now they can no longer be confined to a handful of notorious names in a few big cities. The lives at risk in these pockets of deprivation and violence are a national, pressing problem.
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