Citizens Report

Mapping the Location and Victim Profile of Teenage Murders in London from 2005 to 2014


164 Teenage Murders (Homicides) since 2005 - the most recent fatal incident - Charlie Burns, aged 19, fatally stabbed on the 18th August 2014

Clicking on the victims name or photo locates the incident
                                                                                                                        Clicking on a map marker reveals further details of the homicide
Cloud Database Visualisation, Mapping and Programming by ShakaZoom (get your own)                                              Source: Citizens Report 2013
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YEAR:

or AGE:



average age of victims = 16.96 years
or SEX:


females represent 13% of victims
or WOUNDING:




       
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All London Murders listed - 2006 to 2013                 |                 Murders in the UK mapped - 2011 and 2013

Note: Teenage Murders do not provide a reliable indication of the extent of potentially fatal wounding in the capital. Many life threatening attacks, stabbings and shootings have not resulted in death, sometimes by luck, often by the speed, dedication and skills of emergency health services.


Table of Fatal Stabbings, Shootings and Other fatal wounding for Teenage Murder in London - 2005 to 2014
YEAR Number of
TEENAGE
MURDERS
Stabbed Shot Beaten Arson Strangled Other
2005 14 9 1 3 0 1 0
2006 18 11 5 2 0 0 0
2007 28 18 8 1 0 0 1
2008 29 23 3 2 0 0 1
2009 14 10 1 0 2 0 1
2010 19 10 7 1 0 1 0
2011 15 11 1 2 0 0 1
2012 8 6 0 1 0 1 0
2013 12 7 4 1
2014 7 6 1
TOTAL 164 107 31 13 2 3 4
Over the last 8 years (2005 to 2012) a knife or sharp instrument was the most frequently used weapon in teenage murders (representing 68% of fatalities); there was a Gun (firearm) used in 18% of London Teenage Murders.
A knife and a gun were used proportionally more in London Teenage Murder cases when compared to the all British murder statistics, where a knife is used around 40% of British murder cases and a gun was used approximately 6% to 7% of British murder cases.




1. DEPRIVATION
While deprivation is thought to be linked to higher levels of teenage murder, testing this hypothesis by a correlational test of numbers of teenage murders per borough (end of 2010) against a boroughs ranking on the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2010, suggests that deprivation had a moderate influence, possibly accounting for around 36% (r=-0.5946) of the variability in murder volumes between London Local Authorities (this is consistent with the 36% of variability when a similar test was run at the end of 2007).
Although assessing the relationship between teenage murders and deprivation at a finer spatial level (Lower Super Output Area) reveals that the relationship isn't as clear as would have been first assumed; with the largest number of teenage murders occurring in the mid range of deprivation rather than in the most deprived areas.
Deprived areas tend to take many decades to improve, yet the rate of teenage murders in a borough can fluctuate rapidly between years and even between boroughs with similar deprivation levels.
Table of Teenage Murders per London Borough - 2005 to 2013, and Borough Rank on Index of Multiple Deprivation 2010
BOROUGH 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 TOTAL Deprivation
Rank 2010
(low numbers are most deprived)
Barking and Dagenham 1 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 22
Barnet 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 176
Bexley 0 1 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 4 174
Brent 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 35
Bromley 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 4 203
Camden 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 74
Croydon 3 0 2 3 0 1 0 0 1 10 107
Ealing 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 80
Enfield 0 0 2 5 0 0 2 0 2 10 64
Greenwich 1 0 1 2 0 1 1 0 0 6 28
Hackney 0 1 2 2 2 3 0 0 1 2 13 2
Hammersmith and Fulham 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 55
Haringey 0 1 2 0 1 0 2 0 0 6 13
Harrow 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 194
Havering 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 177
Hillingdon 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 138
Hounslow 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 118
Islington 0 2 2 1 0 1 0 0 1 7 14
Kensington and Chelsea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 103
Kingston upon Thames 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 255
Lambeth 0 1 4 3 1 1 1 2 0 1 14 29
Lewisham 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 2 0 1 8 31
Merton 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 208
Newham 1 3 4 0 2 5 1 0 1 17 3
Redbridge 2 0 2 1 0 0 1 2 0 8 134
Richmond upon Thames 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 285
Southwark 2 1 2 3 1 3 2 1 0 15 41
Sutton 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 196
Tower Hamlets 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 4 7
Waltham Forest 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 5 15
Wandsworth 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 5 121
Westminster 0 0 1 2 0 1 1 0 1 1 7 87
TOTAL 14 18 28 29 14 19 15 8 12 5
table data source: Met Police, Home Office and CitizensReport - data includes 5 manslaughter cases

So while deprivation does have a part to play other factors must be involved, an example of one of these factors could be demonstrated by Tower Hamlets - one of London's most deprived boroughs - where its deprived Bangladeshi Asian community have consistently been under-represented in the teenage murder trend. A mixture of deprivation, culture (note: the word culture - not race is being used) and group narrative seems to feature in the expression of very serious and weapon enabled violence; with Black African and African Caribbean individuals frequently represented in the murder victim and offender profile disproportionate to their representation in the overall youth population.
This would suggest that there is a narrative around violence that is being perpetuated most strongly within Black communities in London. Examples of this narrative could include: a sense that protective factors such as policing and criminal justice system are unlikely to support and protect them; their identity and security within society is so vulnerable that any minor slight has to be tackled with extremes of force; options for legitimate success are so few that illegitimate means should be pursued. These examples are only guesses but they may be worth exploring further.



2. GANGS and Teenage Murders
Much has been written and said about the role of gangs in London's level of teenage murder. With the peak in murders in 2007 and 2008 regularly and inaccurately being described as "gang-related" by the media, police officers and senior officials who really should have known better. Following this alarmist initial reaction, it became clear that less than half of the teenage murders in 2007-08 could be attributed to territorial issues or linked back to violent gangs.
Some fatalities were gang related BUT the term should be used with extreme caution: it created the impression that at some point the murder victim was somehow to blame their their own demise; it is poorly defined - but nowadays it tends to mean that both the victim and the offender were involved in a territorial violent group; it negatively labels many groups of young people who happen to hang together with a local network of friends and associates; it escalated (and at times even promoted) a compelling narrative of violent young (Black) men; and it encouraged an aggressive policing approach that alienated young people from the policing services they needed on their side to protect them.

Despite early speculation, drugs did not feature highly in the motives for violent territorial disputes. The most frequent crime associated with groups of young people who used the threat of violence was personal robbery. Robbery seemed to play a role in establishing dominance in an area, provided some economic incentives and was used as a tool to intimidate other young people. It has been suggested that robbery or threat of robbery did much to drive up the carrying and use of knives at the time (see below); it also ramped up the gang concern because small groups of teenagers who committed robbery were regularly being labelled as gangs.

Probably the most limiting factor in the gangs hypothesis was that when you tried to assess what a successful "gang focussed intervention" looked like, the usefulness of the hypothesis melted away. It would be virtually impossible to definitively measure whether there were more or fewer gangs or gang members in London, or whether those gangs were now less or more likely to use lethal violence. Some of the statements about the number of gangs in London remained beyond comprehension, at best speculative, at worst alarmist. It is probably useful to remind ourselves that young people will form groups, these groups are in constant flux, and the behaviour and dynamic within them is also extremely fluid.
The gang approach also shifted focus away from the actual problem, which was - weapon enabled most serious violence (Homicide, Attempted Murder, GBH and Wounding). By focussing back on weapon enabled most serious violence as an outcome, you could wholeheartedly condemn and seek to change a behaviour without having condemn groups of young people, a neighbourhood or particular communities. In mid 2008 the Metropolitan police shifted tack and launched an anti-gun and knife campaign and decided to focus on reductions in Youth Serious Violence as their principal measure of success, but the language shifted away from gangs months before this. By the end of 2009 the number of teenage murders in London had reduced by half (from 29 in 2008 to 14 in 2009), with gun crimes falling dramatically to 2012. Despite the marked reduction in teenage murders, police recorded levels of "Youth Serious Violence" in London continue to climb; this apparent contradiction is due to the inclusion of weapon enabled crime (that could include assault and robbery) in the Youth Serious Violence measure.

The spectre of gangs and the language of gangs re-emerged with a vengeance in August 2011 with policing and the Home Office blaming youth gangs for the looting and violence in the London and English riots, only a month later for the Home Secretary to admit before parliament that the influence of gangs was minimal.
In February 2012 the police and the Home Office reported there were about 250 gangs in London with over 4800 gang members. Thankfully they then qualified the number of high harm gangs to a quarter of that number, to 62, and suggested that members of gangs were responsible for a minority of offences in London: 22% of serious violence, 17% of robbery, 50% of shootings and 14% of rape. These figures are probably quite speculative and the rationale behind them like much of the official rhetoric on gangs remains opaque.
Many say a robust anti-gang approach through policing is essential - you have to fight fire with fire. Most people who deal with fires say the best thing to put out a fire is water. Targeted and intelligence led policing is essential to tackle individuals involved in harming children and young people - that is not anti-gang, it is just competent policing.



3. ROBBERY and Teenage Murders
The most recent peak of Personal Robbery in London was in 2006 and associated with a sharp increase in youth on youth robberies; the average age of offenders and victims being between 16 and 17. There appears to be an association between those areas (Local Authorities) that have high rates of robbery and areas that high levels of weapon related wounding and teenage murders. These sort of correlations do not mean that one causes the other (ie, robbery causes an increase in teenage stabbing), there could be a third factor causing the increases in both (eg, low educational attainment and opportunities).

The surge in robberies in London from Aug 2010 to a 5 year peak in June 2011 particularly in "concern" boroughs, did not see a similar spike in London teenage murders in 2011. Further information, raw data and analysis of robbery volumes and murders is available on this link



Source: Citizens Report 2013                 More Citizens Issues

 


Charity Links: JAGS Foundation | Through Unity | Victims Support | Kinsella Trust | Knife Crime.org