|Weapon of choice for killings in tightly-gun-controlled London.|
Seizing on the figures, US President, Donald Trump, claimed the rise could be linked to the “spread of radical Islam”, adding that it edemonstrated the need to “keep America safe”. “Just out report: "United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror." Not good, we must keep America safe!”
Criminal justice experts insisted rising crime in the UK, and particularly London, was more to do with the way the city was policed and blamed the reduction in neighbourhood patrols across the capital.
While both London and New York have populations of around 8 million, figures suggest you are almost six times more likely to be burgled in the British capital than in the US city, and one and a half times more likely to fall victim to a robbery. London has almost three times the number of reported rapes and while the murder rate in New York remains higher, the gap is narrowing dramatically.
The change in fortunes of the two global cities has been put down largely to the difference in tactics adopted by the two police forces. Both Scotland Yard and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) have just over 30,000 officers each and budgets of around £3 billion a year.
But in the mid-1990s spiralling crime rates in New York - sparked by the crack cocaine epidemic - resulted in radical a new approach being adopted by the city's police department. Under the leadership of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and police commissioner, Bill Bratton, the NYPD introduced a zero tolerance approach to low level crime and flooded problem areas with patrols.
The force also put a huge amount of emphasis on community policing in order to build bridges between the police and members of the public. As a result the murder plummeted from a high in 1990 of over 2,000 to a record low of 335 last year. That figure is expected to fall even lower this year, and is currently in line to dip below 240.
But the last decade has seen the London Metropolitan Police move away from the neighbourhood policing model and low level in favour of pursuing more serious offences. Last week it emerged that Scotland Yard would not even bother investigating a large number of low level offences as part of a major cost cutting drive.
In addition a huge amount of police resources have been poured into high profile and politically sensitive cases, such as the flawed VIP child abuse inquiry and the phone hacking inquiry. At the same time crime rates in London have been creeping up and the latest statistics are likely to increase pressure of Met bosses to reassess their policing priorities.
Last year there were almost 70,000 burglaries in Greater London with more than 43,000 taking place in people's homes. Robberies have also increased in London dramatically, largely as a result of people having mobile phones stolen.
Rory Geoghegan, head of criminal justice at the Centre for Social Justice, said neighbourhood policing had a wide range of benefits. He said: “By embedding proactive community policing, the NYPD is helping tackle crime, improving the quality of life and building better relationships with the community.
"It’s an approach and argument that London – and the country as a whole – is struggling to maintain never mind bolster, with too many preferring to talk excitedly about investing in crime hubs to hunt online trolls and so-called anti-Islam hate speech.”
“The latest crime figures paint a depressing picture for London that reinforces the need for the sort of political and policing leadership that enabled the initial turnaround of the NYPD in the 1990s under Bill Bratton and enables the no less seismic shift being seen in New York City under Jimmy O’Neill today.”
David Green of the think tank Civitas, also said there was urgent need to put bobbies back on the beat. He said: “It has been suggested by academics that bobbies on the beat do not reduce crime, but it is quite clear that a uniformed presence on the streets will act as an effective deterrent.
“The police in this country remain too influenced by the intelligence led investigations focused on serious crime. That is exactly the opposite of the model that has proved so effective in New York City over the past 20-years.”
|Mayor Sadiq Khna: Being stabbed to death is "part and parcel of living in London!"|
Eighteen-year-old Israel "Izzy" Ogunsola loved soccer and studied computer programming. On Wednesday, he cycled away from his home in Hackney, northeast London. At 8 p.m., he was stabbed. He staggered toward police officers but bled to death near a railway bridge as the police, paramedics and a trauma doctor tried to save him. Police later arrested two 17-year-old boys on suspicion of murder.
Ogunsola became London's 55th murder victim this year. The next day, crowds gathered outside Hackney Central station, not far from where Ogunsola was stabbed, and locked fists to show solidarity with those killed.
Since then, at least seven more people — nearly all of them teenagers — have been stabbed in London, where police have investigated more murders than New York cops in the last two months.
The sharp rise in killings has alarmed London residents and political leaders. Police are in emergency talks with community groups. Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick pledged to dispatch 120 officers to focus on the most violent gang members and get them off the streets by arresting them for "any crime."
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is under intense pressure to act. On Friday, he tore into the British government for cutting the policing budget, which he said has been reduced 700 million pounds (nearly $1 billion) in the last seven years, with plans for more cuts. "So my message to the government is please work with us to solve this national problem," Khan said.
Nequela Whittaker, a former South London gang leader turned youth worker, told the BBC that she blames cuts in after-school social programs that have pushed at-risk youth — who feud over social media — onto the streets.
"Young people argue on social media over nothing," she said. "A boyfriend or girlfriend is in a feud and it escalates and you get people getting involved in situations that didn't necessarily involve that young person first hand."
Many victims are teenagers, including 16-year-old Amaan Shakoor and 17-year-old Tanesha Melbourne-Blake, who were shot within minutes of each other earlier this week. But because of strict gun-control laws, gun violence is not as common and widespread as it is in the United States. Instead, knife crime is largely fueling the rise in London's murder rate. Most of the city's killings this year have been stabbing deaths.
David Lammy, the member of Parliament representing Tottenham, where at least four gang-related killings have occurred so far this year, told The Guardian that the current surge in London violence is different from past rises.
"I am more worried about this spike because the profile of the people getting caught up in it is younger," he said. "The callousness of shooting into a crowd outside a cinema, shooting at young women, the normalization — never mind the ramping up by social media — all of that makes me alarmed and worried. I am pretty confident that we're not going to get over this problem unless there is a proper political consensus. This is not going to self-correct."
Dick, the police commissioner, recently traveled to Scotland to figure out how it drastically reduced its own murder rate. A decade ago, the Scottish city of Glasgow was the "murder capital" of Western Europe, with emergency staff treating stabbing victims every day. But by treating violence as a public health rather than policing problem, Scotland reversed the trend. Crime in the country hit a 40-year low in 2015.
Karyn McCluskey, a former nurse, directed the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit in 2005. She told The Independent that the unit succeeded because it identified and paid attention to children from troubled homes instead of ignoring them.
"The majority of young people are not engaging in this, they don't want this," McCluskey said. "You've got a number of alienated, hopeless, disenfranchised people, and you need to involve them. And sometimes you just have to listen and let them get their anger out. Because they are angry about it, they feel let down."
On Friday, Michael Gallagher, the head of the London Metropolitan Police's organized crime command, told The Guardian that a "societal change" is needed to stop the killing. "It is beyond the police," he said. "We cannot prosecute our way out of this."
Six people were stabbed in London within a 90-minute period Thursday — the latest victims in a terrifying crime wave that has gripped the British capital. Three youths were arrested after a 13-year-old boy was rushed to a hospital with serious injuries about 7 p.m. Thursday from the attack in Newham, east London, police said.
About two hours earlier, two 15-year-old boys were listed in serious condition after being stabbed in Mile End, the Telegraph reported. A youth was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and a 16-year-old boy who suffered minor injuries was arrested for conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm, Tower Hamlets police said.
Elsewhere in the city, a teenager was taken to a hospital after being stabbed in Ealing Broadway and a 21-year-old man was attacked in Walthamstow, the Evening Standard reported.
At least 35 of the victims were stabbed to death in a spasm of street gang violence that has led Scotland Yard to expand police stop-and-frisk powers, according to the Evening Standard. Cressida Dick, the first female commissioner in the Met’s 189-year history, said the stabbings have made her “angry,” but defended her department’s actions.
“I think we have been able to provide a good service in the worst possible circumstances to the people affected by the attacks,” she added. Dick this week announced a new 120-member task force to tackle organized crime — apparently in addition to the 80-strong Operation Sceptre anti-knife unit launched last May.
Chris Peddie, who received a royal honor for his youth work, revealed what could be a chilling motivation for youngsters to commit the crimes across London: a point system. “If you stab someone, you get one point,” he said, the Daily Star reported. “If you are in a gang and stab two people and someone stabs nobody, then there is peer pressure to go out there and get yourself on the score sheet,” he said.
A 16-year-old boy told Peddie about the point system, saying he found himself atop the chart after stabbing six people. “He doesn’t even know if he’s killed them or not,” Peddie said. “It is not a game — you are taking people’s lives.”
On Thursday, residents and community activists attended a protest in Hackney, east London, near the scene of the Wednesday night stabbing death of Israel Ogunsola, 18. They demanded to know why police were not doing more to stem the tide of deadly crime.
“A lot of the children feel disenfranchised; they don’t feel they belong, they haven’t really got a meaning,” said Pauline Pearce, a Hackney mayoral candidate. “They don’t feel that they have that connection to society, so a lot of things go wrong for them and sadly this is the sort of retaliation that comes,” she added.
|Londoners have a very good chance of being beheaded alive by Muslims in a London street.|