Massive Reduction in London Murder in 2012 – good reductions across England and Wales

2012 has seen a large reduction in murder in London and across England and Wales.

With a 20% reduction in London murders in 2012 (compared to 2011); 2012 could be the first time in over three decades that murders in London have been under a 100 in a year. Police reported crime data suggests 98 (maybe 99) murders in 2012 compared to around 120 in 2011. This has reduced London’s murder rate to 12.1 per million population (London population is 8,174,100) see London Murder page
Much has been said about potential police activities that have brought this number of murders down despite a growing London population and greater diversity in nationalities, religions, communities and cultures, but it is probably time we stop the cycle of thanking the police and authorities for crime reductions, yet when crime goes up, its everyone else’s fault. The evidence suggests that these massive reductions are a change in how individuals and communities in London view themselves and choose to conduct themselves, rather than a step change in policing.

So is this massive reduction in murder down to the police and the criminal justice system?

  • Murder detections – Sanction detections levels for murder in London (the proportion of murder offences were police charge someone) have always been good and have been in the mid nineties over the last 3 years Met Police Homicide sanction detection .
  • Sentencing – sentences for murder and homicide have not varied
  • Police Numbers – police numbers have been cut by around 5% with some inner city boroughs having the greatest reductions link to officer number spreadsheet with more reductions planned into 2013.
  • Gangs and youth murder – other than the teenage murder spike in 2007 and 2008, teenage murders continue to represent around 10% to 15% of London murders. And although we had a 50% reduction in teenage murders in London from 2011 to 2012 (from 15 to 8 teenage murders) we have had a similar reduction between 2008 and 2009 (from 29 to 14 teenage murders) so “special anti-gang activity in 2012” is unlikely to have made the difference.

  • Are the murder reductions due to better Emergency Health Services?

  • Health services seem to be getting to grips with dealing with knife and gunshot wounds and this may have had an impact in the number of knife or gunshot deaths/ murders; however, there have been good reductions in the number of emergency ambulance call outs for knife and gun injuries link to ambulance call out London Boroughs

  • No I believe it is time to hand back the accolades and plaudits to the communities in London for this massive reduction in murder rather than continually lauding police and statutory authorities.

    Murders in England and Wales
    Murders in England and Wales 1960 to 2012
    Murders in England and Wales may possibly be under 560 in 2012, continuing the reductions over the last decade.

    Austerity UK means that Police numbers and funding are being cut, youth clubs and community crime services are closing. Stress within families is greater…. This is against a backdrop of an increasing number of Londoners and more diverse London population …. despite all the theories that suggest murder volumes should be increasing; murder volumes and rates are actually falling.
    However these reductions are not entirely a surprise: murder volumes across the world are falling and recessions in the past have tended to bring along with them reductions in serious violent crime and murder, and increases in acquisitive crime – although the acquisitive crime increase in this recession hasn’t occurred in most parts of the UK.

    Theories about crime, sentencing and police numbers are being blown out the water. It’s time for a few ideas about why we are seeing this crime reduction despite local and national services being cut.

    Official data on violent crime in England and Wales to June 2012, is available on this link

    This entry was posted in gun crime, knife crime, murder and homicide, Teenage Violence Homicide. Bookmark the permalink.

    3 Responses to Massive Reduction in London Murder in 2012 – good reductions across England and Wales

    1. BAACP says:

      Interesting reading. I have always been concerned in the killing of our children (under 18’s), in particular those from the Black community. Although the figures seem a drop of murders, this does not mean that London is safer for Black children because we still have a large number of stabbings, a large number of which go unreported.

    2. LD says:

      I think it is important that we recognise when things are getting safer and when things are getting worse.
      If there are less murders of young people, less stabbings, less shootings and less serious injuries by young people on young people, including young Black people… it means they are safer, not safe, but safer.

      Its difficult to argue with the data when there are such large reductions, and while there have always been under-reporting of violent incidents, why would this under-reporting be more now rather than 2 or three years ago. Serious stabbings and woundings and especially murders are reported well. And the fall in these have been over 20% in the last 2 years. Things are definitely improving.

      The intense emotions and fears that arise through just one incidence of serious injury and murder, tends to make us feel that things are getting worse. The view that – things are worse now than they were in my day – is a pretty normal assumption. But there is a clear trend in London and UK of improvement and given that London is more diverse (non-white and non-UK born) now than even 5 years ago, this means that the improvement is likely to be across all ethnicities including young Black people.

      I think we have to guard against some of the comments about crime from both the statutory and even the voluntary sector. They are often both dependent on government funding to tackle violence issues and if serious violent crime drops too much these services will lose their funding. Both the statutory and voluntary sector have been doing some very valuable work but they are invested in the fear industry and as such would find themselves less needed if those fears reduced too much.

      Fear of violent crime and less fear of violent crime are positive feedback loops. When we worry about high violence levels it tends to make us more violent to each other. Similarly, when we are less worried about violent crime, we in turn become less violent when something kicks off. Messages about crime and violence bear with themselves a responsibility to be as accurate as possible.

      Happy to chat more on this issue


      • Gloria Holden says:

        That’s gotta be one of the best and most optomistic write ups about violent crime I have come across. What a change from the dreary and completely negatively biased stories of – everything is turning to complete sh—t for young people and for young black men.
        Many many thanks and please do keep on standing strong against the hype about how awful things are. I think things are defininately getting better! I love that the fashion has moved away from gutter style gangsta to aspirational hipster.

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