London and New York have nearly the exact same population. And now for the first time in recent history, London has overtaken New York in murders—there were more slayings in the UK capital in February and March than in America’s largest city.
According to figures from the Metropolitan Police, first obtained by The Sunday Times (paywall) and then by the BBC, a spike in knife crime in February led to a total of 15 people murdered in London. That’s compared to 14 in New York in February. Preliminary numbers from police in London and New York indicate murders in London for March are likely to exceed or equal the number in New York. As of March 31, there had been 22 killings in the UK capital. In New York, there had been 21.
The crossroad for the cities seem to originate from January, when the murder rate decreased in New York while London’s spiked. The Sunday Times reported that murders in London have risen by 38% since 2014—even when excluding victims of terrorism.
The former Met Police chief superintendent Leroy Logan told the BBC that the stats are proof that “London’s violent traits have become a virus.” Of the 44 murder investigations the police have launched in 2018, 31 have been a result of stabbings.
Even as the number of murders has been dropping to record lows in New York in recent years, the annual number still outpaces London’s by a wide margin. But the rise in murders in London comes as crime there is on the rise.
A police spokesperson added that “one murder is one too many, and we are working hard with our partners to understand the increase and what we can all do to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place.”