Gun crime in London on the rise. What are the main drivers?

Updated on Friday 26th January 2018

The highest number of gun crime offences in London, in the last five years, was registered in 2017, accounting for 2,542 cases that represent 44% more than in 2014, according to the Metropolitan Police. More than half of the offenders were aged 25 or under while 30% of the victims were in the same category of age. The main drivers of gun crime were drug dealing and gang activity, as a police report mentions. Gangs were responsible for nearly half of the lethal gun crimes, many of the weapons being bought online, from the “dark web”, and also from the Eastern Europe countries.  

The Metropolitan Police released another alarming report in the spring of 2017, mentioning 2,544 gun crime offences registered in the period April 2016-April 2017 compared to the previous year, when only 1,793 crimes had taken place. There was an increase of knife crime also, by 24%, compared to the same period; the police officers registered 12,074 cases. There were 4,415 of knife crimes cases involving an injury (April 2016-April 2017) that means an increase of 21% compared to the year before. 

Increases of the crime rates in England and Wales

These rises come after a few years when the crime rates were falling. The total number of offences registered in London marked an increase of 4% in 2016-2017 compared to the previous year. There was an increase of 12% for robbery offences but this level is about half of the one registered in 2006-2007. The increases of the crime rates were registered not only in London, but also in the rest of England and Wales. The police representatives declared that there is no reason for great concern as these levels are lower than the ones recorded five years ago. The measures taken by the police are confiscating the weapons and taking offenders from the streets and preventing these cases. The local communities will be implied in the strategies for combating knife crimes commited especially by young offenders carrying knives. 

Gun crime means crimes commited using both lethal weapons and non-lethal weapons. This type of crime has grave consequences for victims and their families who can suffer for years because of the injuries caused by guns that can hurt victims or kill them. According to a police report, there were 770 gun fired (318 lethal weapons) in 2,542 gun crimes. The usage of lethal weapons increased by 20% in 2017 compared to 2012. O part of the guns used in crimes in London comes from abroad, especially from Eastern European countries and the local authorities will take measures in order to stop this kind of commerce involving guns and to inform the young people regarding the grave consequences of using them for solving conflicts.