London Knife Crime Statistics: What Are Your Chances of Getting Stabbed in London?
The London stabbing statistics will highlight the underlying causes of the UK’s capital’s most unfortunate staple occurrence: the rising London knife crime rate.
We will investigate the London knife crime statistics and facts to find the main contributing factors and provide advice on how to avoid falling victim to a London stabbing. The truth behind this horrendous crime’s mythologisation is an interweaving of class, race, gender, and generational differences. Our objective presentation of London knife crime statistics has the intent of removing stigma and contributing to a long-lasting solution.
Is there a sensible way of asking, “what are the chances of getting stabbed in London?” Yes, insofar as we approach the issue of knife crime responsibly and unbiasedly.
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- Knife-related crime had a yearly increase of 10% in England and Wales in 2021.
- Teenage deaths due to knife crimes were the highest in 18 years.
- Most violent offences involve no sharp object or weapon.
- London stabbing incidents have become fewer across all boroughs of the Metropolitan area.
- BME groups are especially affected by urban violence.
- Men perform most of the London stabbing offences.
- Women and especially mothers are disproportionally affected by these crimes.
- Female victims are often assaulted by partners and family.
- Class, social standing, and socio-economic background are the only positively correlated causes of violent crimes.
- Glasgow may hold the secret to stopping the London stabbing epidemic for good.
London Knife Crime Infographic
Current London stabbing rates
In 2021, there has been a record of 27 London stabbing crimes that resulted in the deaths of the implicated victims.
This steep increase is part of a more significant trend in England and Wales, where police recorded 221 murders involving knives or other sharp objects.
The area has seen 46239 knife crime offences, contributing to a 10% yearly increase in the two regions. In 2011, knife crime increased by 29%.
London knife crime statistics 2021 death toll
As for overall teenage knife crime deaths, 2021 broke the 2008 record, also being the highest number of such crimes in 18 years.
London stabbing events in 2021 numbered 10506, out of the total 44450 violent crime events.
However, this past year has seen a 16% decrease in knife crime, be it lethal or non-lethal.
All the presented data on London knife crime statistics comes from trusted official sources.
Crime & homicides in London
Out of the total 209224 recorded criminal incidents in 2021 (July-September 2021), 61470 have been violence against a person, and 39 were homicides.
Thus, London sees 25.7 violent crimes per 1000 residents, 7.6 leading to injury. However, the number of incidents that lead to death, serious injury, or that can be quoted as homicides, falls under 0.0 per 1000 residents.
What is knife crime?
It is an umbrella term for violent offences where the implicated parts used knives or similar sharp objects and weapons.
We will use the term for all such contraventions, whether they resulted in fatalities or injuries. We will highlight the differences in outcome between London stabbings where it is relevant.
The motive behind London stabbing crimes
These are the main motives behind selected violent London stabbing reports. The statistics concern the entire metropolitan area.
There have been 17 selected violent events within city bounds: seven assaults with injury and ten robbery offences.
London stabbing events vs other means
The overall likelihood of partaking in London knife crime depends on the area you reside in.
Naturally, the wealthiest historic district is the safest, showing virtually no London stabbing whatsoever.
Compared to overall rates in England, London knife crime statistics often equal or fall under the national percentage, with the sole exception of homicides, where the capital stacks up a 19% difference.
Involved (or no) weapons
The previous statistics signal one of the most surprising London knife crime and violent offence facts. Most attacks involve no weapons.
Knives have a marginal edge among London stabbing offences compared to other sharp weapons or bludgeoning implementations. However, all armed assaults are dwarfed by crimes involving no weapon.
Firearm crimes, arguably a comparable offence in the collective imaginary, resulted in 30 homicides in England and Wales, amounting to 4% of total homicides.
However, these figures cannot compare to the effects of knife crime, as 74.4% of all homicides resulted from stabbings.
- This last year broke historical records of teenage homicides, primarily due to sharp object violence.
- The London knife crime yearly rate has increased by 10% since last year and 29% since 2011.
- 7 out of 1000 residents faced violent crimes, as reported by the Metropolitan Police. However, less than 0.1 lost their lives.
- In 2021, in London stabbings made up 74.4% of all homicides.
- The leading causes of London knife crime are burglary and assault with injury.
- The metropolitan area sees more homicides than England, on average. Any other offences are equal or lower.
- Most violent attacks in England and Wales involved no weapon.
London knife crime: Where, why & who?
To better understand London stabbing statistics we will explore their underlying factors. Here are the essential facts about London knife crime and its causes.
What borough has the highest knife crime rate?
According to the most recent police reports, Newham, Haringey, and Southwark top the list of London stabbing offences, the only three boroughs with sharp object assaults exceeding 500.
Where is knife crime highest in London?
The current distribution of London stabbing instances reflects a pre-existing historical situation, with Newham, Haringey, and Southwark remaining the riskiest areas.
However, considering borough-to-borough distributions, we can safely draw two conclusions about London knife crime.
Stabbings stick to boroughs
Previously dangerous areas remained the riskiest. Knife crime did not grow in boroughs where rates were low. Additionally, we cannot see any spillover from one location to another.
London knife crime is decreasing across all boroughs
Secondly, London stabbing rates have decreased in all boroughs, especially in those that previously had the highest rates.
Between 2019 and 2020 there were six areas where armed assault numbers exceeded 700. There was no such borough in 2020-21.
The odds of getting stabbed in London do depend on the area one resides in, statistically speaking. However, as rates decrease, we can no longer talk of hazardous areas in the city.
We do not have London knife crime statistics that address urban areas lower than its boroughs. Thus, the offence density that may be concentrated in specific zones and neighbourhoods is dispersed across the entire borough.
Interpretations of statistical data should be taken with a grain of salt by our readers. This observation will remain relevant for most of our presented facts.
Ethnicity plays a role in the figures of London stabbings. Black residents of the capital are three times more likely to be victims per capita.
Additionally, the same ethnic group is reported to be four times more likely to be sentenced for murder or homicide in London stabbing cases.
Knife crime victims
In the latest analysis considering ethnic divisions, 46.7% of homicide victims were denoted as being Black.
White populations are the next in line, with 35.6% of victims identified as such. Asian and Latin American (or mixed heritage) people had 15.4% respectively 2.3% likelihood.
Since knife crime stats do not mirror the demographic breakdown of the population, we can assume the risk and odds of being a London stabbing victim to be tied to one’s background, including ethnicity.
Demographics vs victimhood percentages
Out of 135 cases, 106 London stabbing offences resulted in convictions. Authorities could identify the race in 91 cases.
Ethnically black individuals comprised 59.3% of the known perpetrators, with whites making up 22%, Asians 16.4%, and 2.1% Latin Americans or of mixed heritage.
The limits of London knife crime statistics
Note that such figures only take into account identified and convicted individuals.
A discrepancy in demographic data can result from different policing practices for racial populations.
Differences in criminality by race reflect socio-economic realities and conditions rather than being a generalisable group quality. Evidence shows that the black population in London’s boroughs increases with levels of deprivation. We should conclude that ethnicity, poverty, and victimisation are strongly related and covariant.
Another critical element in London stabbing statistics is that the killer and the killed will often be of the same ethnicity.
In cases where the ethnic background was identified:
- For 45% of the Black victims, 59.3% of all killers were Black.
- For 37% of the White victims, 22% of the killers were White.
- For 16% of the Asian victims, 16.4% of the killers were Asian.
Black populations are more at risk of being victims of a knife crime and are more likely to be pushed to commit one. The main reasons for the discrepancy, as highlighted before, are poverty, gang formations, unemployment, and economic standing.
Men vs women
Knife crime is highly gender-dependent. No less than 97.1% of killers are men, according to London stabbing figures.
Additionally, men are more likely to fall victim to a London stabbing, with 80% of those slaughtered being male. This difference is even more damming, considering that the population of women is larger than that of men within Greater London.
The discrepancy highlights a secondary dynamic beyond painting London knife crime as an essentially male-on-male act of violence.
While women perform a marginal part of London stabbing events, they fall victim to a fifth of them. Thus, beyond the common associations to gang violence, burglary, and economically motivated crime, stabbings also decidedly play a part in gendered violence.
Women are more likely to be killed by someone in their inner circle
31% of the victims were assaulted by their partner’s or ex-partner’s attack. 20.7% were killed by a family member.
Street and domestic violence
They are more likely to die “on the street”, while women most often fall victim “at home” to a relative or (past) partner.
An even more unfortunate fact, and perhaps indicative of another key aspect: 48.2% of all female victims were already or soon-to-be mothers.
Age plays a large part in London knife crime propensity, motive, and likelihood. There are considerable differences in age across race and gender.
The youngest killers have been registered among the Latin American or mixed-race groups. However, the small number of cases registered in these groups can skew the data.
Black youths are most likely to die from and perform a London stabbing. Both victim and killer ages fall under the overall means. Knife crime is generally a youth-specific crime, with the average age of the perpetrators being 25.8. The mean age of Greater London residents is 35.8, being closer to the age of white perpetrators.
What are your chances of being stabbed in London, depending on age?
If you are black, your odds of falling victim to a London stabbing fall as you age.
As soon as you approach your thirties, you are statistically safe. Individuals of Asian heritage are still at risk at that age.
White males are likely to fall victim later in life, like Latin American and mixed-race identifying persons.
You are always more likely to be attacked by a younger individual, regardless of race.
…and depending on gender?
Men die younger, especially in the case of London stabbing victims. The average for men is 31 years, 39 being years for women.
Considering that the age means for Greater London residents are 35.3 years for men and 36.5 for women, males often face attacks early in life. In contrast, women tend to fall victim to knife crime later in life.
Unfortunately, there were numerous instances where the victims were not only underage but still toddlers, with three victims considered for London knife crime statistics being younger than one year old.
The most decisive factor: social class
Class, societal, and community factors are undisputedly the most significant factors in committing and being a victim of a London stabbing.
However, these areas are the least attended to or analysed, when tackling the issue of knife crime.
The only research synthesis with findings in this field comes from BMC Public Health. The study aims to identify risk factors associated with weapon-related crime in young people within the UK by analysing a wide array of pre-existing literature.
Three Important Conclusions
- The review found no association between gender or ethnicity and youth violence.
- Several research papers identified adverse childhood experiences and poor mental health as positively associated with youth and gang violence.
- Multiple studies suggested that community and societal risk factors (discrimination, economic inequality) are frequently linked to such violence.
It seems that context is more important than any other consideration regarding the perpetrators of knife crime. Any other consideration regarding boroughs, gender, and demographic belonging is just a partial indicator of the true cause behind the London stabbing epidemic.
Why is there so much knife crime in London?
Most studies correctly identify antisocial behaviour as the primary condition in direct correlation with violent crime. However, such characteristics evolve from a traumatising developmental environment.
More than the aspect of an unfortunate upbringing, constant societal risk factors maintain and perhaps even add to the pressure that so often explodes into another fit of fatal knife crime.
Who are victims of knife crime?
Another clear aspect from previous studies is that London stabbing crime often remains within the class (and even race) strata it occurred in.
Disenfranchised black youths are both likeliest to partake in violence and to be a victim of it. However, this is only due to their demographic group’s current higher disadvantages.
How does knife crime affect the community?
As the issues that led to the London stabbing epidemic go unaddressed (or poorly addressed), violence plays back into the loop, enforcing the environment that generated it. The criminals, victims, and their underlying environment remain in an endless cycle of violence, uninformed media vitriol, and failures to appropriately address real issues.
- The risk and tide of London knife crime are not evenly distributed across London’s population.
- Certain boroughs have historically been linked to increased rates of violent crimes.
- London’s Black residents are three times more likely to be victims of an attack.
- Men perform nearly all knife-related crimes. While they are also the likeliest to be attacked, 20% of the victims were women.
- Women were often attacked by partners, ex-partners, or family members. Almost half of the female victims were mothers or pregnant at the time of the attack.
- The London stabbing epidemic is most frequent among young people, with black populations having the youngest victims and criminals.
- The only positively correlated aspects leading to violent crimes are poor mental health, adverse developmental environment and societal risk factors like discrimination and economic inequality.
- Mass media does an infamously poor job addressing the actual situation behind London knife crime.
Is London the UK’s murder capital?
The London stabbing figures indicate that UK’s capital has an issue with violent knife crime. It is worth comparing its crime rates with other areas.
Taken alone, Greater London had twice the number of killings per capita as the rest of the UK. We will also consider historical trends and whether the record-breaking teen homicide rates of last year do, in fact, indicate a more general situation regarding London knife crime rates.
Knife crime statistics across time
The first peak in London stabbing rates occurred between 2011 and 2012, with roughly 14000 recorded incidents.
The numbers decreased in the following years, reaching an all-time minimum between 2014 and 2015, with 9700 cases. The number of knife crimes steeply rose in the next years, reaching record highs of around 15600 cases in 2019-2020.
The first pandemic year lowered offence rates, but we may be looking toward a new statistical peak given the explosion in recent London stabbing events.
Cases that resulted in injury
Knife crime offences also saw an approximate 15% rise, from 4100 such cases in 2010-2011 to a record high of 4700, 2017-2018.
London stabbings have since fallen to approximately 3100 by 2021. We do not yet have the complete figures for 2021-2022. Still, considering the historical spike in teenage homicides across the city’s boroughs, we can safely assume that offences resulting in an injury have risen according to the overall cases.
London, in context
The unfortunate rise in London knife crime is no outlier, rather closely mirroring the trends present in England and Wales.
During the early 2010s, the Metropolitan area was one hotspot for violent offences, making up for a considerable fraction of the overall cases across the region. However, in recent years the crime rate has become dispersed. London stabbing rates remain high, but the city is no longer among the first two areas with the highest rates.
Judging by the 2010-2011 statistics, West Midlands and Greater London were the only two areas to count over 100 offences per 100000 residents. All other regions stayed under 77 cases.
London knife crime decreased within the Metropolitan area to under 118 cases, with the West Midlands and Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees, and Redcar and Cleveland becoming the two hotspots for such offences. Generally, knife crime rates saw a more even spread across counties, corresponding to a regional increase in overall cases.
The motive of crimes also changed considerably across the years. Although knife crime is associated with assaults with an injury, offences shifted to threats to kill, attempted murder, and sexual assaults and offences.
Judging by yearly trends, knives have become means of intimidation and coercion. Homicides marginally increased from 2010 while visibly decreasing between 2019 and 2021. Robbery rates are falling across both recent and historical trends.
While 2021 saw minor knife-related criminality across all categories, comparisons with earlier dates paint a bleak picture: England is becoming more violent.
When did knife crime start in the UK?
Armed assault has been present in Great Britain for as long as there are records to show it. However, just like the recent London stabbing epidemic, steep increases are a modern phenomenon.
Which part of the UK has the highest knife crime rate?
England and Wales have seen higher knife-related homicide rates during the late eighties and the nineties. However, the rates seen between 2001 and 2007 have been undisputedly the highest until recent times.
Scotland, however, saw its highest violent crime rates between 1991 and 2005, after a slow but constant increase since 1973. Its more extensive history with violence changed its approach to tackling criminality.
Scotland & Glasgow
Glasgow has been historically known as the murder capital of Western Europe. We will see why this is no longer the case and how the Scottish context compares to London and England.
Total recorded crime in Scotland decreased by 24% since 2010-11, keeping at a stable level since 2018-19. Currently, non-sexual violent crimes make up 4% of all recorded offences, with another 5% being violent sexual offence instances.
Last year, Glasgow saw 4% less criminality than the Scottish average and a net 25% decrease since 2010-11. It was only surpassed in crime reduction by the Highland and Midlothian. Edinburgh’s county saw a staggering 13% yearly decrease, the highest across the region.
Crime Rate Per 1000 Population Comparison
|England and Wales||75.5||102.8||77.6|
England and Wales far exceed the Scottish crime average, with London being in the higher echelon of the former.
Although it has seen decreases in criminality per capita, London still lags behind Glasgow and Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh.
Is knife crime worse in London compared to Glasgow?
It is decidedly so, especially with the most recent developments in the Scottish city. Glasgow is faring much better than London with lower rates and objective victim numbers.
The reduction in crime rates observed in Glasgow shouldn’t be understated. In 2005, a United Nations report presented Scotland as the most violent country in the developed world. Between 2006 and 2011, 40 minors lost their lives in homicides that involved knives or other sharp objects.
How did Glasgow reduce knife crime?
Within the same year of the UN report, Scotland Yard inaugurated the Violence Reduction Unit(VRU).
A comprehensive approach
The Unit effectively managed to address and reduce violent crimes by interrogating and tackling the concrete, fundamental causes of the problem.
Its campaign united the efforts of law enforcement, social services, and other bodies, including associations such as Medics Against Violence.
The group lobbied for legislative changes around armed violence, efforts that resulted in more stop-and-searches and a tripling of the average sentence.
The Violence Reduction Units performed a miracle in communications with possible offenders. The message was twofold. On one side, authorities warned gang members that police officers would intervene a lot heavier than before. All members were at risk of arrest and sentencing.
On the other side, the VRU dedicated considerable resources to portraying the risks of violent criminality and providing a way out of the cycle of aggression.
Youth work and positive prevention became critical elements of the approach. Authorities offered new opportunities for possible perpetrators and incited positive change via their communications campaigns.
And it worked. The VRU did its job. Between 2006 and 2011, the number of minors that died due to knife-related assaults fell to 15. The number further decreased between 2011 and 2016 to only eight. Additionally, the number of people carrying knives fell from 10110 in 2006-07 to 3111 in 2015-16, amounting to a 69% decline.
Are you at risk of getting stabbed?
Following our analyses of London stabbing rates and the national context should inform a change in attitude towards knife crime.
What are the chances of getting stabbed in London? They remain higher than in many other areas of the UK and beyond. However, this is true mainly for the vulnerable populations they stem from.
The average Londoner is more likely to die in vehicle-related events. In 2019 alone, there have been 25341 reported collisions resulting in 125 deaths, 3780 injuries, and 26102 slight injuries.
Is knife crime a moral panic?
Not necessarily, as the rates of occurrence remain concerning. However, the presentation of London stabbing cases often turns into pandering, ignorance, and moral panic, in the worst sense possible.
The reality is that a London stabbing will have a disadvantaged young male of colour as a victim, and the same category will most probably perpetrate it. Women are also at considerably skewed risk at the hand of present or past partners and even family members.
What is the most common crime in UK 2021?
|Offence||Number of incidents||Annual % change||Sources|
|Knife crime||46,239||-10 (2020)||PRC|
|Vehicle offences||342,627||-14 (2020)||PRC|
|Computer misuse||1,869,000||89 (2019)||TCSEW/CSEW|
- CSEW – Crime Survey for England and Wales
- TCSEW – Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales
- PRC – Police recorded crime
England and London stabbing rates are second to last among all crimes and offences, surpassing only homicides in number. More importantly, they are on the decline, with London knife crime decreasing most rapidly.
How can knife crime be stopped?
The environment and gang culture that generate the London stabbing epidemic greatly resemble the Glaswegian context, pre-VRU.
Thus, one natural approach to the issue would follow the example of Scotland’s (and the Western world’s) ex-murder capital.
The knife crime-reduction mantra is that violent armed assaults are only reliably correlated to an unfit childhood environment, poor mental health, and socio-economic risk factors. No other aspect can describe the likely assaulters or victims, nor can it point to a better approach.
We have a history of investigating the odds and likelihoods of possibly severe and unfortunate events, such as the chances of war in the Middle East.
We do so with full acknowledgement of the gravity of approached subjects. We intend to inform and provide further data for independent verification. We ask our readers to consult the references provided for our study for a better-informed opinion.
To proceed with the required tact, we will consult the scientifically reliable resources and studies to perform a comparative review.
Once we obtain credible data backed by multiple sources, we synthesise it into digestible content for the British reader. Nonetheless, we aim to maintain the utmost stricture in our presentation by not leaving any doubts or space for interpretation.
Our sources & interpretation
For the presented London stabbing rates, we used the data provided by official governmental organisations.
Additionally, we consulted expert studies on the issue of violent criminality. The conclusions presented in the piece are only those confirmed by specialists.
While we have a background understanding of statistics and risk assessment, we cannot afford to propagate incorrect interpretations around such a critical subject.
Against toxic discourse
Another essential part of redacting a reliable and correct analysis of the London stabbing epidemic is the choice of published sources.
We have frequently stressed the British media’s inadequacy in approaching the issue. An uncritical parroting of uninformed media pieces would go beyond complacency into territories of malfeasance and participation in an already toxic culture.
An ongoing process & its limits
Whether we refer to corrections or changes due to further developments, our readers can expect to see changes to the data and interpretations presented in our study.
We only take for granted the scientifically verifiable conclusions coming from attested sources. Our presentation can only expect to be as reliable as the expert data we cite.
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