NEWS reports suggesting that the number of murders in London has overtaken that in New York are premature. It is true that in February and March the British capital recorded more murders than New York for the first time in recent history. But a recent spike in killings in London does not necessarily make a trend; even if London’s figures for the first quarter of 2018 were repeated for the next three, it would still record about 50 fewer murders than New York over the course of the year.  For comparison, New York, which at nearly 9m has a similar population to London, suffered 292 murders in 2017 whereas London had just 130. This does not detract from the huge improvement seen in New York, which saw a shocking 2,245 murders in 1990 (London has rarely passed 200 a year over the same period).

Still, there is genuine concern in London, where there have been 47 murders so far this year (two have already been recorded in April). The 12-month moving average of 150 is the highest for over a decade, and March saw the largest number of murders in a single month in more than ten years. In London knife crime and deaths of young people go hand in hand, and violent crime involving a knife rose by a third in the 12 months to July 2017, the latest figures available.