Knife crime surged by almost a quarter in England and Wales in 2017, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Nearly 40,000 offences involving a knife were recorded by police in the year ending December 2017, a rise of 22 percent. The figures also revealed that gun crime went up by 11 percent to 6,600.
Alexa Bradley, who focuses on Crime Statistics and Analysis for the ONS, said that most crime remains stable compared to the peak seen in the mid-1990s.
But she said that the statistics show an increase in “high-harm” offences, such as homicide, knife crime, and gun crime, which she said was “a trend that has been emerging over the previous two years.”
According to the data, recorded homicides rose by 9 percent to 653 from 599, year on year. When including deaths from terrorist attacks and events at Hillsborough in 1989, 688 homicides were recorded.
The ONS warned of a “genuine increase” in violent crime. Offences were mainly concentrated in London and other large cities, but the majority of police forces across the country also saw a rise.
The statistics showed an increase in vehicle-related theft, up 17 percent, burglary, up 9 percent and robbery, up 33 percent. Violence against the person was up to 1.3 million, an increase of a fifth compared to the previous year.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police released their own crime figures, that revealed murder had risen by 44 percent in the capital, up from 109 to 157. Sex offences are up by 11 percent from 17,880 to 19,854 offences, which includes 7,707 cases of recorded rape, up by 18.39 percent.
The statistics come at a time when figures showed that more murders were committed in London in February and March compared to New York, with a spate of stabbings driving the increase.
Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said he was very concerned about the rise of crime in the capital.
“My thoughts are with the victims’ families of these tragic and horrific crimes which have brought untold misery to countless people,” he said.
“We are strengthening local policing by bringing specialist officers closer to communities, and have increased the number of neighbourhoods officers dedicated to particular areas to engage with the public and work with them to keep them safe.”
Overall crime in London was up by 6.4 percent, knife offences increased by 21 percent, but gun crime was down by 4.6 percent, the figures show.
Crimes committed via a scooter, moped, and motorcycle peaked in July 2017, but have since decreased after police adopted new techniques to combat the crime, including the use of forensic tagging spray, lightweight police motorbikes, and remote-controlled stingers.
The Met outlined plans to reduce crime, including weapon sweeps and an increase in the use of “stop and search” tactics.
Key Figures: Police Recorded Offences of 2017
22 percent increase in offences involving knives or other sharp instruments, up to 39,598
11 percent increase in firearms offences, up to 6,604
33 percent increase in robbery offences, up to 74,130
54 more homicides than the previous year, to 653, when excluding the terror attacks and Hillsborough