By Dhairya Negandhi
2020 saw a rise in knife crime numbers for London, the capital and most densely populated city in the UK. A marked increase of 3% from 2018/19 calculations reflects a failure to curb steadily rising levels of violence in the region. To provide context, this uptick in knife crime is not new to Londoners, who have had to contend with growing degrees of knife-related brutality since 2010, where numbers first recorded a truly significant escalation. From 2010 to 2020, knife crime in London has risen by an overall 10% per 100,000 of its population, equating to 179 incidents for every 100,000 residents in the capital.
The North-Eastern region of England holds the mantel of lowest knife-violence in 2020, but it is important to note that knife crime is not confined to London. Very real stories of tragedies and youth focused violence have become a mainstay of news reporting, in print, broadcast and digital forms. As Coronavirus caused lockdowns and curfews in many parts of England, street violence has taken temporary dips but remains a very real issue yet to be addressed or dealt with.
Outside of the incredibly high numbers recorded in London, the West Midlands documented the highest levels of knife crime of any county in the UK, with the metropolitan county accounting for 68% of all knife violence in the entirety of the West Midlands region. This could be due to the heavily populated urban centre Birmingham falling under West Midland county lines, as other counties such as Warwickshire, West Mercia and Staffordshire combined form the remaining 32%.
London is somewhat predictably at the top of the graph in terms of knife crime, but it must be noted that London also hosts the most extensive population in the country, its number of residents soaring above most regions, counties and cities within the UK. The next closest place in the UK in regards to population is Birmingham, the most recent census revealing the figure to be under one million. The second most populated city in the UK houses six million people fewer than the first.
Another usual contender for some of the highest levels of knife crime in the UK is Manchester, another densely populated urban centre. But the Office of National Statistics could not provide accurate data for recent years and the graph reflects that.