For the “first time in modern history,” London had more murders in February than New York City did, according to The Times.
London’s 15 killings were above New York City’s 14 murders for the month. And a similar trend appears to be developing as March’s final data rolls in, with London edging New York City by a margin of 22 to 21.
According to research from the University of California’s Eric Monkkonen, London’s murder rate has been half or significantly less than New York City’s for well over 200 years, until early 2018.
London’s gun laws are among the strictest in the nation, but a significant spike in knife crimes is the driving force behind this crime wave. Last year alone, 80 people were killed by stabbing, and this year’s pace of 29 so far is set to overtake that. Labour MP Sarah Jones called London’s knife crime wave an “epidemic.”
Metropolitan police commissioner Cressida Dick told BBC radio: “We have taken thousands and thousands of knives off the streets. We are doing stop and search in an intelligent way, and we are stopping and searching those people we know are prolific knife carriers.”
Although Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan recently reinstated “stop and search” techniques to combat the violent crime wave, procedures changed significantly after critics blasted the previous policy for the “national controversy and local tension” caused by “black, Asian and ethnic minority people” being disproportionately searched, according to the Independent.
The policy change has reportedly been linked to London’s recent increase in violent crime:
At a conference for Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners in November, several senior officers claimed some officers had become reluctant to use stop and search powers because they feared racism accusations, linking the fall to rising violent crime.
Other crime statistics, including burglary, assaults, and sexual crimes, also place London far ahead of New York City.
All of which seems to belie Mayor Khan’s contention that his city is “the safest global city in the world, and one of the safest cities in the world.”