Knife crime is on the rise in the Eastlondonlines boroughs this year, abandoning the previous downward trend in knife crime from 2019 to 2021, ELL has established.
According to Metropolitan Police statistics three out of the four ELL boroughs have seen more than a 10 per cent increase in knife crime between October 2022 and October 2023.
Attacks are commonplace. Last month, a man in his 30s was stabbed in the head during a knife fight outside The Old Fox and Hound in Croydon. This heightened fears after the fatal stabbing of 15 year old student Elianne Andam weeks earlier.
Further attacks have taken place over the past few months from across the boroughs with some of the most notable being:
1. Lewisham, December 4, Joshua Jacques murdered four in ‘blood bath attack’.
2. Croydon, October 1, 16 year-old Taye Faik, fatally stabbed a few days after Elianne Andam.
3. Lewisham, October 21, 15 year-old boy found with multiple stab wounds.
4. Croydon, October 30, 19 year-old woman found dead at the scene having suffered stab wounds.
A spokesperson for The Metropolitan Police said: “Tackling violent crime continues to be a priority and our teams work tirelessly to keep the streets of London safe. This includes being a visible presence in areas where we know levels of violence are higher and targeting the drivers of violent crime including drugs. A recent week-long Met crackdown on violent crime led to more than 500 arrests and 130 knives taken off the streets.”
London as a whole has seen an increase in knife-related crimes in the last year with over 15,500 incidents reported by the Met, which is a 14.5 per cent increase. The monthly average of incidences was over 1000, however, there has only been an average of 144 arrests per month.
ELL looks at the situation in each of our boroughs
1. Tower Hamlets
Tower Hamlets saw the largest rise in knife-related crime, with a 19 per cent increase in knife crime since October 2022. There were 653 incidents reported by the Met Police, with 206 of them resulting in injury, a 5.8 per cent increase.
The borough averaged 50 knife-related incidents per month, which is two crimes per every 1000 people per year.
Tower Hamlets also saw a significant fall in arrest rates with a 40.7 per cent decrease, averaging only six arrests per month.
In response to these figures, a Tower Hamlets Council told ELL: “Working with police partners to reduce knife-related crime and remove knives from our streets is a priority for the council.
“Our enforcement officers conduct regular weapon sweeps alongside their patrols, support neighbourhood policing work and our CCTV officers monitor a network of 350 street-based cameras 24 hours a day, identifying perpetrators of violent offences.
“Any knife crime is one too many and we will continue to work with partners to make Tower Hamlets safer for everyone.”
Croydon saw a 16.2 per cent increase in knife crime with 841 offences reported by the Met Police, the highest number of all the ELL boroughs.
Of those offenses, 233 of these resulted in injury, a 12.9 per cent increase, also the highest out of the boroughs. Croydon averaged 65 knife-related incidents per month, which is 2.2 crimes per 1000 people per year.
Croydon had the steepest decrease in arrests with a 41.3 per cent decrease averaging at five arrests per month.
Croydon Council told ELL: “Croydon already does a huge amount of positive work with young people, from the preventative programmes our youth workers do with children as young as nine, to working with schools to prevent exclusions, which we know are pivotal; to our gangs and youth offending teams carrying out targeted work to support some of our most vulnerable young people”.
Lewisham saw a 12.2 per cent increase in knife crime with 503 incidents reported to Met Police. Of these, 158 resulted in injury, over a seven per cent increase. The borough averaged 39 knife-related incidents per month, which is 1.6 crimes per 1000 people per year.
Lewisham had only a 14.3 per cent decrease in arrests, averaging five arrests per month. This is the smallest decrease compared to the ELL boroughs.
ELL contacted Lewisham Council for comment but have not received a response.
Hackney saw a 6.3 per cent increase in knife crime with 624 knife-related crimes reported to Met Police. Of these, 170 resulted in injury which is over a six per cent increase. The borough averaged 48 knife crimes per month, working out as two crimes per every 1000 people per year.
Hackney’s arrest figures fell by 34 per cent averaging at seven arrests per month.
ELL contacted Hackney Council for comment but have not received a response.
Street Doctors is a nationwide charity based in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets, and covers all of the ELL boroughs. They aim to empower young people to become part of the solution against violence, as well as providing emergency first aid training.
The charity said: “Our peer-to-peer approach enables young people to gain access to positive role models, showing that a future away from violence is possible”.
Street Doctors partner with other volunteer groups as well, such as, Violence Reduction Units who are responsible for commissioning the first aid training and Premier League Kicks Foundation, working with football clubs such as Arsenal to deliver training to ‘Young people affected by violence during their football training, helping them be part of safer communities on and off the pitch’.
Representation of the comparison in knife crime in ELL boroughs last year, although they have decreased in the past month. Data from Metropolitan Police. Visualisation by Aysha Imtiaz.