Four young men were stabbed to death in London over the New Year in separate incidents that reflect the capital’s growing struggle with knife crime.
London police say that four separate murder investigations are underway.
The victims were aged between 17 and 20, fitting the pattern of increasing numbers of young victims of knife crime in the capital.
These latest deaths bring the number of teenagers stabbed to death in 2017 in the capital to 20, the highest in a decade, and nearly double the 12 recorded in 2016.
According to a statement by the Metropolitan police, the stabbings all occurred between the evening of Dec. 31, 2017, and the morning of Jan. 1, 2018.
Police believe one of the stabbings, in Tulse Hill, South London, may have been sparked by an altercation on the local number 68 bus, which resulted in a 17-year-old male dying from a single stab wound.
Fight that led to fatal stabbing of teen in Tulse Hill may have started on a bus, police have saidhttps://t.co/XenkUueIMv
— Croydon Advertiser (@CroydonAd) January 1, 2018
Police have arrested five males in relation to the murder of an 18-year-old, which occurred at 11:30 pm in Enfield, North London.
There have been no arrests in relation to the other murders, which occurred in South and East London.
Commander Neil Jerome, of the Met’s Territorial Policing Command, said the following in the statement:
“It is heart-breaking that, at a time when so many of us are contemplating what lies ahead in 2018, four families are dealing with the grief of losing a loved one to senseless violence and the callous use of knives as lethal weapons.”
“There were small groups who chose to engage in disorder and violence, and whose actions have had utterly tragic consequences,” he said.
According to the Evening Standard, national statistics for 2017 show knife crime is on the rise, with incidents in London nearly doubling in a year.
The scene of another fatal stabbing last night, this time in West Ham. Lena, a student nurse, attempted CPR on the 20 year old victim. She told me he’d been stabbed three times in the chest pic.twitter.com/R23pIbM3fl
— Jon Ironmonger (@JonIronmonger) January 1, 2018
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has previously said he was deeply concerned about the rise in knife crime
Khan said in a statement posted on Twitter, “We will work tirelessly in 2018 and beyond to stamp out this scourge.
“I want to be absolutely clear—if you use a knife the full force of the law will be brought down on you. You will be caught and prosecuted.”
Meanwhile, in the West Midlands, two sons found their mother had been stabbed to death just before midnight on New Year’s Eve when they returned home from a party.
Local police confirmed in a statement that a 49-year-old man had been arrested after a 44-year-old woman was found with a knife injury at a property in Bromsgrove.
She was declared dead at the scene at 12:12 am, Jan. 1.