London Homicides Now Matching Those in NYC

By: Ryan McMaken

Greater London and New York City have similar population sizes at around 8.6 million. And now, for the first time, homicides in London are on a par with those in New York City. 

As reported by the BBC: 

  • In January, the Met investigated eight murders whereas the NYPD looked into 18 killings
  • By February, the NYPD’s figures had dropped to 11, while London’s rose to 15
  • In March, 22 murders were investigated in London while 21 inquiries were launched in New York

These numbers, notably, exclude London homicides defined as resulting from “terrorism” — although the US does not exclude “terrorism” from its homicide counts. 

Officials in London, in turn have blamed “knife crime” and even blame social media: 

Britain’s most senior police officer recently said social media was partially to blame for the soaring rate of knife crime in the UK. 

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said websites and mobile phone applications such as YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram were partially to blame for the bloodshed.

The current orthodoxy around homicides, of course, dictates that this should never happen. The current assumption underlying gun control laws is that gun control brings lower homicide rates. 

And yet, By Western European standards, guns are easy to come by in New York City — although New York is quite restrictive by US standards. 

If homicide rates continue to grow substantially, London could end up subject to the sort of crime problem not seen in the UK in more than a century. We we’ve discussed in the past, the UK has been a region with low crime going back more than a century. The nation’s low homicide rates pre-date the introduction of gun control laws in the 1920s. 

Nevertheless, officials have now been conditioned to think of all crime in terms of being caused by a lack of weapons prohibition. Hence, we hear about “knife crime” and what an epidemic it is. We even occasionally hear about calls for banning kitchen knives in the UK. 

Growing crime in London also has the potential to significantly affect nationwide statistics since a sizable 13 percent of the UK population lives in Greater London. 

Homicides statistics in the US have already been similarly affected since increases in crime in only a handful of cities have been driving increases in homicide rates in recent years. 

As with the US, it is likely that most of the UK outside certain areas of certain cities remains remarkably safe, in spite of recent upward trends in London.  

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