London

Knife crime surges in London with migrant influx

The Weekly Standard (WS), a British daily, reported that the recent influx of African migrants, particularly from Somalia and the Congo, has caused a spike in knife crimes.

Published: August 10, 2017, 9:19 am

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    Fifty-nine percent of knife crime offenders are from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, 95 percent of knife crime offenders are male, and 60 percent are under 25, the London Guardian reported.

    “In the last 10 years, since the Somalis and the Congolese came to London, they taught us a whole new level of violence,” a former gang member said in the interview with WS.

    “These people had seen family members mutilated so when they said, ‘I’m gonna smash you up,’ us guys would be shouting, ‘Yo blud, wot you mean?’ and they would just pull out a blade and juk [stab] you in the chest. It upped the speed and level of violence for us British-born guys. We had to arm up to protect ourselves. It created an upward spiral,” he continued.

    British Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, meanwhile spoke at a knife-crime conference in London recently, noting the increase.

    “By and large, it used to be gang members, but that’s not the case now,” he said. “We’ve seen an increase in the number of other young people carrying knives, young people with no links to gangs. So at the moment, some 75 percent – three quarters – of all knife injuries among the under-25s are not gang-related. The 25 percent that are – this is around 450 offenses in the last year, so about one a day – tend to be more serious, and gang members remain the most dangerous knife carriers, but the changing trend is clearly a concern.

    “The reasons, so far as we can determine by talking to suspects, are self-protection, status, protecting criminal interests – such as a drugs business – and a culture of fear. This can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, where young people equip themselves with a knife and in doing so significantly up the ante of their chances of becoming a knife victim,” Hogan-Howe concluded.

    According to a Police and Crime Committee report, gang activity accounted for less than 5 percent of knife crimes.

    Knife crimes have risen by 24 percent over the last year in the British capital, and crime is up in almost every other category, according to figures released by the Metropolitan police. Last year 61 people were stabbed to death in London, while 29 people have been killed in 2017, up from 23 for the same period the year before.

    Some 114 000 foreign-born Somalis reside in the UK, mostly in London, according to the Office for National Statistics.

    There are also around 9 000 Congolese people in Britain, according to the 2001 census, also mostly living in London. According to the BBC, the number may be considerably higher since “increases in people seeking refuge and removals of failed asylum seekers mean that the census figure should be treated with caution”.

    It is notoriously difficult to track crime from specific migrant communities, as authorities try to hide ethnicity in their official reports. From information available, knife crime is however rife among a population that would include the Congolese and Somali communities.

    The rise in knife crime was also mirrored by a rise in gun crime, up 41 percent on the year previous.

    London’s Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, meanwhile believes the solution to rising knife violence and crime, is a campaign of censorship, calling on YouTube to take down videos about gang violence and knife crime.

    “Social media and the Internet can be used to inflame tensions and escalate violence quicker than ever before, and these videos are a shocking example of the glamorization of gang culture,” Khan warned earlier this week.

    British authorities have an history of censoring migrant crime. After the London Bridge terror-attack, perpetrated by a British-born Muslim, a Moroccan immigrant and a failed Moroccan refugee, British law-enforcement were more concerned about anti-Muslim content on the Internet. British law enforcement arrested 25 people for “hate crimes” following the attack that killed eight and wounded another 48.

    The 12 potential terrorists arrested in connection with the London attack and 22 arrested in connection with the similar Manchester terror attack in May, were released without charges.

    “Hate crime can take many forms including verbal or online abuse on social media. If you see it, report it,” police in Cheshire, a county in northwest England, tweeted in the aftermath of the attack.

    London has also become the acid attack capital of the world, with a 74 per cent rise in assaults — from 261 to 454 — between 2015 and 2016 in terms of attacks per head of population. A British surgeon has suggested that the proliferation of such crimes has reached epidemic levels.

    Dr Martin Niall, a burn surgeon at Mid-Essex Hospital, told US National Public Radio (NPR) that acid attacks in Britain “are now at levels that one of my colleagues described as epidemic”. He added: “Everyone, ourselves included, has been shocked by this emerging threat to public health.”

    Hundreds of attacks were registered in the first months of 2017, but NPR suggested acid attacks in the UK actually date back “to before Victorian times”. But between 2011 and 2016 attacks in London tended to be concentrated in areas which have experienced high levels of immigration.

    Newham, Barking and Dagenham, and Tower Hamlets — all of which are minority White British — topped the list for total attacks.

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