The Fluctuating Figures of London Knife Crime

As of May 4 2019, 28 people have been fatally stabbed in the city of London this year, as a result of an ongoing knife crime epidemic in the capital. In 2018, the number of homicides reached 135, which averaged out at more than one murder every three days – whilst it is currently averaging at one killing every four days (we are 122 days into the year), levels are still extremely high.

Over the seven years that the spreadsheet details, there was a seven percent increase in knife crimes recorded by the Metropolitan Police from 2011 to 2018 – 13,341 reports in 2011, and 14,695 in 2018. However, the number decreased dramatically from its current statistic in 2015, reaching a stable 9680 then slowly increasing back up to 12,061 in 2017 and reaching its highest number of the data set last year.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan controversially said in March 2019 that he has ‘done as much as he is allowed to do’ to tackle knife crime, and has been criticised online by the public and other politicians, who have said he is not doing enough. In April 2018, the Mayor launched Violent Crime Taskforce, a command of 300 polices officers that are dedicated to focus on the worst affected areas of knife crime, including Westminster, Newham and Lambeth. According to City Hall data, since its launch 13 months ago, the VCTF has seized 731 knives and arrested almost 4000 suspects.

Analysing the data set that I used to create my infographic, it is clear to see that Southwark is consistently the most common out of the 32 boroughs in London where one can be affected by knife crime; records show that there were 860 knife-related crimes reported to the police in the borough in 2018. This is just a 2% increase from the 842 affected by blades in the previous years analysis.

One thing visible from the data set is that between 2017 and 2018, the worst increases of knife crime in London boroughs came from Sutton (increase of 77%), Camden (+73%), and Havering (+69%). An article published in local newspaper The Camden Journal in February 2019, four months after the spreadsheets were published online by Parliament, revealed that local businesses in the area have began paying for private police protection due to the ‘dwindling number of officers in the area’. The number of police officers fell from 887 in 2010 to 631 in 2017, totalling a 256 strong loss in just seven years.

Since Theresa May became home secretary in 2010, and throughout her time as the British Prime Minister, the number of police officers on UK soil has fallen 21,500 nationwide. Because of this, it comes as no surprise that the Metropolitan Police Force are struggling to cope with the workload that the criminals of London are giving them.

Read the accompanying data set here.