The number of murders in London has nearly doubled in the first three months of 2018 compared to the same period last year. The spike is putting pressure on leaders to take measures to improve security in the capital.
There were more murders in London than in New York in the last two months. As a result, political pressure is mounting on leaders to halt a spike of violence in the British capital.
There were 15 murders in London in February, compared to 14 in New York, according to police numbers. In March, 22 murders were reported in London, against 21 investigations in New York, a city of similar size. It was the first time in modern history that London's murder rate was higher than New York's.
The latest in the string of violent crimes involved a 17-year-old girl who was killed in a drive-by shooting in the northern district of Tottenham on Monday night. Around the same time, a 16-year-old boy was shot and a 15-year-old was stabbed in northeast London. Both were severely injured.
The number of murders in London in the first three months of the year nearly doubled compared to the same period last year. London's Metropolitan Police have launched 45 murder inquiries so far this year; five were gun-related and 31 were committed with knives.
Including January's numbers, New York had more murders so far this year compared to London.
Last year, there were 292 murders in New York compared to 130 in London.
Mayor blames budget cuts
It is unclear what has led to the increase in murders in London, or if the trend over the past two months will continue.
Some have blamed the Conservative government for slashing police budgets.
David Lammy, the local MP in Tottenham, blamed drug gang violence and police cuts.
London's Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has been in office since May 2016, representing the opposition Labour Party, blamed the Conservative government for cutting budgets.
Conservative Boris Johnson, now the foreign minister, was London mayor for eight years. Prime Minister Theresa May served as interior minister from 2010 to 2016.
The spike in violent crime has also led to more calls for police to "stop and frisk" people on the streets. The controversial practice was curbed by then-interior minister May in 2014 in response to criticism that the practice targeted minorities.
An interior ministry spokesperson said the government was taking action "to restrict access to offensive weapons," including knives.
Britain has much stricter gun laws than those in the United States.
cw/jm (AFP, Reuters)