by Chiara Paccagnini, Giacomo Antonelli and GengShuo Hu.
Statistics for reported knife crimes in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Lewisham and Croydon show a mixed picture, according to the latest quarterly crime survey. Knife crime is up by 11% in Tower Hamlets but the other three boroughs all see a reduction, bucking national trends. Sexual offences however are increasing across the area.
An Office of National Statistics (ONS) report detailing crimes recorded by police for the year ending September 31 2018 shows offences in the four boroughs across the board increasing by 1% , a slower rate than in London as a whole, where crimes went up by 4% and in England and Wales by 7%.
In contrast to Tower Hamlets which saw a significant rise in knife crime, Croydon and Hackney experienced a 3% reduction in case numbers, again in contrast to national figures which showed an 8% increase in London and a rise of 13% in England and Wales.
Pete Davey, Communications and Engagement Officer at Metropolitan Police, said the figures suggested crime rates were stabilising. He told East London Lines: “Violent crime increased nationally from 2016, and whilst London saw particular increases at the beginning of 2018, more recently we have seen the rates not only begin to stabilise but in relation to the number of overarching knife crime and in particular in regards to people under the age of 25, it has started to reduce. However, we are not complacent and will continue to prioritise violent crime.”
Lewisham is leading the pack and recorded a drop of 8% in recorded knife assaults over the past year. Since 2010 knife assaults have been reduced by 17%, about 100 cases fewer than eight years previously. Since the Met’s Violent Crime Task Force was set up in April 2018, Davey added, 2,795 people have been arrested, many of whom have been jailed. “Across the Met, in total we have taken over 4,200 weapons off the street. Also, young knife injury victims (under 25s) decreased by 13% – 277 fewer victims.”
1,856 offences were recorded in the 12 months to December 2018 compared to 2,133 offences for the same period the previous year.
Weapons possession figures also show an improvement, with a 15% reduction compared to last year in the four boroughs. The number of robberies in the four boroughs remains unchanged, although they are up in England as a whole by 17%. Instances of violence ending up with an injury rose by 8% in England and Wales, but in the four boroughs they dropped by 2%.
However ONS figures on reported sex crimes tell a different story. Sexual offences, stalking and harassment, are on the rise in all the four boroughs. Taking Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Lewisham and Croydon together, there was a combined increase of 9% in sexual offences. Stalking and harassment have increased by 12%.
This is in line with a broader London trend where recorded cases of sexual offences, stalking and harassment have increased at similar rates.
Tower Hamlets saw the steepest increase in sexual offences from the four boroughs (12%) and the highest overall number of cases, with 941 recorded episodes.
Pete Davey added: “Bearing down on violent crime on the streets of London continues to be a top priority for the Met. We are working tirelessly – day and night – to identify and pursue offenders, help bring perpetrators to justice, take weapons off the street, support victims, engage and reassure the public, and keep our communities safe.”