Violent crime has shot up in the West Midlands, according to annual crime figures published today.
Residents are also more likely to be a victim of violent crime in the region than any other part of the country, the figures showed.
But there were also a number of improvements in crime and detection rates.
Overall crime in the region was down by 12 per cent, with burglary down 22 per cent and vehicle theft down 21 per cent.
The Home Office figures showed the number of violent offences in the entire West Midlands region increased by 23 per cent.
There were 655 offences per 10,000 people in 2004-5, up from 539 offences per 10,000 people in 2003-4.
Last year, London had the worst record for violent crime. But it has now been overtaken by the West Midlands.
The region is covered by West Midlands Police, West Mercia Police, Staffordshire Police and Warwickshire Police.
The figures come from the British Crime Survey, which both police and the Home Office say is the most accurate measure of crime.
However the Home Office also released separate figures, based on reports by police forces, which suggested violent crime had fallen slightly in the region, to 120,459 recorded incidents.
The Home Office argues these figures are less reliable, because they are affected by changes to the way police record crime.
Other forms of crime are falling in the region, the figures show.
The total number of crimes recorded was 533,243 - a reduction of 12 per cent.
West Midlands Police reported crime had fallen by 13 per cent, and West Mercia Police reported a fall of 11 per cent. In Warwickshire, reported crime fell seven per cent, and in Staffordshire it fell by eight per cent.
A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said burglary and vehicle crime were both at their lowest for 25 years.
The Home Office report showed that last year there were 45,449 fewer victims of crime in the West Midlands compared to the previous year.
Overall crime had fallen by
13.4 per cent, from 339,444 to 293,995. Gun crime was also down by 15 per cent, from 1271 to 1081.
The detection rate for the force has fallen three per cent, from 25 per cent, to 22 per cent, but the West Midlands still has a better record than most forces in major urban areas.
Deputy Chief Constable Chris Sims said: "The fact there were 45,000 fewer victims of crime over the last 12 months is a real achievement and reflects the huge efforts made by the people of the West Midlands, our partners and our staff."
Across the country, the British Crime Survey showed that overall crime was down seven per cent and violence was down 11 per cent.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke said he was "extremely encouraged" by the "very positive" statistics.
At the same time, the number of violent incidents recorded by police actually rose - topping the one million mark for the first time.
There were 1,035,046 recorded incidents of violence against the person in England and Wales in 2004-05.
But total recorded crime fell six per cent to 5.6 million incidents, including a 20 per cent fall in burglary and a 17 per cent fall in car thefts.
The number of gun crimes recorded by police rose six per cent in the year to just under 11,000, and 73 people were killed by guns in the 12 months, five more than the previous year.
Shadow home secretary David Davis attacked the Government for going ahead with round-the-clock licensing in the wake of the figures.
"With violent crime continuing to spiral out of control, it beggars belief that the Government's only response is to unleash 24-hour drinking on our town and city centres."