London murder rate higher than New York for first time: Officials
Fifteen people were murdered in the UK capital in February and 23 in March compared to 14 and 21 respectively in New York, a city with a similar population size.world Updated: Apr 02, 2018 19:17 IST
The number of murders being investigated by Scotland Yard in London has surpassed New York for the first time, according to latest figures released for February and March.
Fifteen people were murdered in the UK capital in February and 23 in March compared to 14 and 21 respectively in New York, a city with a similar population size.
For 2018 so far, there have been 46 murders in London — 31 as a result of knife attacks. Murder rates in London had seen a steady decrease from 206 in 2003 to 94 in 2014 but the figure rose to 119 in 2015 and 116 last year.
“London remains one of the safest cities in the world. One murder is one too many, and we are working hard with our partners to understand the increase and what we can do to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place,” a Metropolitan Police spokesperson said.
Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones, who chairs the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Knife Crime, told the BBC that London could learn from New York on how to reduce violent crime.
“New York has been able to bring down serious violence through a public health approach. We need a proper strategy that looks at all the issues. Knife crimes and violent crimes act like an epidemic, so you need to go in at the source to cut it off and then you need to inoculate the future young people against it,” she said.
“Going in at the source means major intervention work with youth workers, inoculating means going into schools, changing social norms, educating kids, teaching them what it is to be a man, teaching them how they don’t need to carry knives,” she added.
In March, a 48-year-old Indian-origin logistics planner became a victim of a knife attack in the Southall suburb of London. Two people have since been charged with Balbir Johal’s death, which marked a spike in such attacks.
The most recent one being investigated by the Met Police is of a 20-year-old man who was stabbed moments after leaving a bar in Wandsworth, south London, on Sunday.
Scotland Yard Commissioner Cressida Dick had renewed the force’s commitment to tackle knife crime on the streets of the city in February.
“London must come together to make it clear that this cannot continue. We will not police our way out of this problem. There is a role for all of us — London’s public, our partners and the police,” she said.
In a recent interview, she had blamed social media for driving youngsters towards violence and murder and warned that often trivial disputes between young people were escalating into murder and stabbings at unprecedented rates.