Are concerns about rising murder rates justified?

Date: 
Tuesday, 03 April, 2018

The death by shooting of a 17-year-old girl in Tottenham has raised fresh concerns about apparently rising violent crime in London.

According to official data, there were 100 suspected homicides in London in the 12 months to March 2012. The following year, it rose to 109, before falling. In the 12 months to March 2017, there were 108 suspected homicides.

Across England and Wales, there were 710 suspected homicides in the 12 months to March 2007. This had fallen to 613 in the 12 months to March 2017 (once the 96 victims of the Hillsborough Disaster, whose deaths were all recorded in the 2017 data following the conclusion of the Inquest in April 2016, are deducted from the total of 709).

  • 215 homicide victims were stabbed in the 12 months to March 2017, down from 272 in the 12 months to March 2007.
  • 32 homicide victims were shot in the 12 months to March 2017, down from 58 in the 12 months to March 2007.

Richard Garside, Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, said,

We do not yet know what the specific circumstances are of these recent and distressing shootings in London. What we do know is that murder remains very rare, in London, and across the country, and there is no evidence that it is on a long-term rise. If anything, murder has been declining in recent years.

The police have an important role to play in responding to and investigating murders and violence. Effective strategies to prevent and reduce violence and murder mean treating it as a public health, rather than policing, matter, investing in long-term prevention, support and eduction, rather than enforcement.