Robbery and Teenage Murder linked?

There has been some discussion around whether fluctuations in personal robbery in London could account for, or predict, changes in the number of teenagers that are fatally wounded in London.
The basis for this view is that:

  • The profile of victim ages are very similar – most frequently 16 to 17 year olds.
  • The locations are similar – street crime in urban deprived areas with a high proportion of ethnic minorities
  • Knives and weapons are regularly involved
  • The important thing about having a hypothesis or view is to test it against the available data.

    Combined Charts of London Teenage Murders and Robbery volumes per month – April 2007 to March 2011

    raw data

    On first view it does look like something is going on and there is some alignment in the general trend in each of these two charts. However a correlational test reveals a very poor linear relationship (r=0.234) between the two sets of data.
    It could be argued that any relationship is unlikely to be linear so further work is clearly needed to either reject or accept the link between robbery and teenage murder.

  • Robbery rates per London Borough mapped
  • Teenage Murders updated and mapped
  • This entry was posted in Black crime, knife crime, Robbery, street violence, Teenage Violence Homicide. Bookmark the permalink.

    15 Responses to Robbery and Teenage Murder linked?

    1. Simon Kington says:

      Hello. I came into the site to look at whether your Citizens Report approach to crime was in any way different to the states (in whatever way you want to define the state), or other sites that have positions about crime or justice…
      So far I have to admit to being pretty impressed with the way you have been going about this. The teenage murder and robbery discussion have been very interesting, you laid out your information very clearly. And crucially, you tried to test your views by giving arguments and information for and against. Unhappily that sort of approach is rarely used in the wider crime and justice field, where everyone seems to be trying to persuade everyone else that only they are right. You are to be commended on giving a more balanced position a go.
      I particurlaly welcomed your views on how personal and cultural narratives can make certain crime behaviours more likely to occur in some groups. The gang explanation for all this has become pretty pervasive and I would suggest that when a young person is in a gang it probably does make them more likely to commit serious violence because they are in a group that has a shared narrative around extreme violence. But in many ways, we as adults, media and professional organisations, also contributed to that violent narrative by buying into, and virtually promoting, the whole gang story ourselves, providing the oxygen of infamy and boosting the threatening reputation of these groups who are mostly comprised of not very clever and frightened young people who managed to get hold of guns or go around together “tooled up”.
      You are making a very useful resource not just for citizens but also for professionals……. I should know I have been in the crime reduction field for over two decades and have seen many a crime analysis in my time… it is very rare to see even simple statistical tests used to scrutinise or challenge peoples views

    2. Maggie says:

      Well up to 15th May this year, three of the six teenage murders seem to have robbery related causes. Negus Mcclean, Temidayo Oguunneye and Ezekiel Amosu. Maybe you are on to something after all.

    3. Ed says:

      Shankai, a 14 year old boy almost became another murder victim yesterday when he was robbed and stabbed 8 times. I dearly hope he pulls through and doesn’t end up being another one of those teenage murder victims photos you have on your site.

      • StuartL says:

        The 14 year old lad stabbed in hammersmith for his Ipod is apparently doing OK and “three people in their mid-teens have been arrested in connection with the investigation. They remain in custody pending further enquiries”.

    4. Kevin G says:

      You just have to stop and think about this a little to see that whenever someone pulls out or threatens you with a knife to steal your money or property there is going to be a damn good chance that someone is going to get hurt and possibly killed.
      It takes a certain attitude to be able to front up to someone on the street and demand money with menaces. The kind of person who does that aint too far away from the one who stabs or shoots the victim. If you tackle street robberies, at the lowest level including a teenager bullying another teenager for his bus fare or mobile phone then you’re going to dramatically reduce knife injuries and these teenage murders.

    5. Stephen Manchester says:

      Apparently there was no difference between those areas in London and across the country that had special government funding to reduce teenage knife crime and those areas that didn’t. Although there were good reductions from 2007 to March 2010 overall, these reductions were about the same between TKAP (Tackling Knives Action Programme) and non-TKAP areas.
      So something other than Policing or government sponsored programmes made the change happen.

      • Hi Stephen…. I read the articles in the newspapers and the way it was put about was that the tackling Knives Action Programme made no difference… a political spin on the story in some papers to suggest the Labour governments approach to the issue was pointless.

        The evaluation was mainly around TKAP Phase II (launched April 2009), rather than Phase I that ran from June 2008. The evaluation is available on this link.

        I think it probably true to say that you can’t make a causal case that TKAP (extra funding to tackle knives in high volume local authorities by providing increased police activity and education and awareness projects) reduced the homicides in London from 2007-08 to 2009-10. But just because non-TKAP boroughs had around the same level of youth homicide reduction probably doesn’t say anything conclusive on whether TKAP was useless or not. People who commit crimes travel between boroughs, messages about violence and programmes to tackle violence are unlikely to be heard in only one place, especially with the way these programmes are launched, strongly advertised and promoted.. in fact it is this promotion element that many believe is the most influential part of these programmes.

        Some important reminders came from the TKAP evaluation. Often crime reductions occur before any on the ground activities start; media representations of violence influences peoples perceptions and fear of violence; and beware claims that increased police funding is the best way to drive down crime.

    6. Graham Vaughan says:

      I am a Stockwell, Lambeth resident and have a black teenage son. I don’t think people realise how difficult it is for teenage boys growing up in parts of inner city London and the daily struggle to keep out of trouble, get an education or a job. My son has had his life threatened if he didn’t join a group of kids who commit robbery. And the pressure on boys from their peers to fail or have spent time in prison is high. My son has the advantage that I am around to back him up when he is being threatened so many others don’t have this support.

    7. Kiaran in Oldham says:

      We are obsessed with the small scale damage being done by a few very stupid kids and keep missing the wholesale destruction of our health and prosperity by a gang of extremely wealthy bankers, speculators in the City of London and corrupt politicians.

      The banking crises has stolen thousands of pounds out of the pockets of every person and family in this country, taken from us by politicians who threatened that the Banking system and all society will go into meltdown if they don’t bail these greedy people out. So we get shafted and for the bankers ability to manipulate and fool all of us, they get a great big fat bonus.

      The greatest harm in this country and many others comes from bankers, wealthy speculators and tax avoiders taking money and food from hard working families, pensioners and children. Just because they have managed to create laws to make what they are doing appear legal doesn’t mean that it isn’t theft, and because they threatened us with destruction I think that constitutes robbery.

      Kiaran

      • Kiaran I think you have a few very valid points going on there and perhaps we are missing the big picture by being distracted by what could be considered as infrequent although horrible events for those involved in them. We have looked at traffic fatalities on this site as well and in one year four times as many people die on the roads in Britain than are murdered, but traffic fatalities continually fail to get the outcry that is truly deserved and perhaps needed. Each murder or fatality is and should be a matter of concern and we can all do our little bit to try and reduce them and understand how it feels to those left behind.

        I think young people are particularly vulnerable to the way older people manipulate and distort issues. These distortions occur even within services that have been put in place to protect citizens….. they occur sometimes without malice but often with the end result that the vested interests of a few people or organisations are served….. sorry I am being a bit cryptic I know but I will return to this issue in another post.

        So yes I understand what you are saying and I do wonder who we really need the greatest protection from.

    8. David R says:

      Robbery is going up and because of this offences where knives are used are going up, BUT the most serious wounding offences are going down.

      I think we have turned a corner and it seems that young people are less likely to stab each other now, even during robberies, because they know that the heat is seriously on them when someone gets hurt.
      More effective reporting, capture and prosecution for acts of violence seems to be having an effect.

    9. Ruth Spearman says:

      I was reading that even America is experiencing a crime fall despite them also suffering an economic recession. Despite this I wouldn’t assume the link between the economic issues and crime levels is broken. The recession is now only starting to impact upon peoples spending power and the worst is yet to come.

      While violent crime still seems to be going down, acquisitive crimes such as robbery are starting to climb in large cities like Birmingham and particularly London. With London now suffering what is easily described as a robbery crime wave.
      Historically those comitting robbery have tended to be young Black men. Most economic recessions have tended to hit the Black community first and with prospects related to higher education now becoming a distant dream for many because of massive increases in tuiton fees, and the removal of allowance that kept many disadvantaged young people in college; all within an environment of growing youth unemployment. The chances are we are only seeing the beginning of a surge in youth acquisitive crime which overtime is likely to develop into more and more violent confrontations.

      The vision from our leadership is not an inclusive vision for all, and it has become clearer that our leaders are quickest to resource and protect those who are already very comfortably off. Heads down and adopt the crash position it looks like we are in for a very rocky ride.

    10. Matthew Grahame says:

      Robbery and violence is no theory where I live, it’s a part of everyday life. And while you hear in the news about increased police action seeing a policeman on foot on my estate is rare, they are usually safety tucked away in their cars or hiding from crime in their police stations, definitely not out here on the streets!

    11. May 2011 was another bad month for robbery in London with 33,811 offences reported to the police in 12 months to end of May 2011, an 11% increase compared to last year.

      The chart below of personal robberies per month to May 2011 is starting to demonstrate a worrying trend.

      Chart of Personal Robbery number of offences per month – 2008 to end of May 2011

      Chart of Personal Robbery offences from 2008 to end of May 2011

      Raw data

    12. Robert Newman says:

      The example from our leadership is that everyone should be out for themselves and respect and rewards are provided to those who can ensure they grab what they can without compassion or care for the consequences to others.
      Government is acting like a bunch of poorly trained accountants rather than leaders who can set an inclusive vision for all.

      And it is clear that this government doesn’t give a rats arse about poor people, so much of what they have already done in education, crime, housing and employment gives them away and shows they are about protecting and increasing the wealth of their mates.

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