Crime in London fell last year (financial year 2008-09) to the lowest level in a decade, with 18,00 fewer crimes in London compared with the previous year.
According to Metropolitan Police statistics, there were 2,000 fewer victims of youth violence during the most recent reporting period and gun crime is down by 25.8% (753 offences), while knife crime is down by 13.3% (1,882 offences).
The downward figures were welcomed by London Mayor Boris Johnson who commented: “I am encouraged by what seems to be a promising trend. It appears that the huge efforts and fresh initiatives over the last year are delivering results. We are making some headway in a number of areas, especially gun and violent crime, and it is particularly heartening to see a reduction in youth violence.”
Despite the general downwards trend, there was a rise in both the number of rapes, which increased by 14.5%, and hate crimes.
Commander Paul Minton of the Metropolitan Police said: “Regarding rape and serious sexual violence, we welcome this week’s Home Office announcement of additional funding to support sexual assault referral centres (SARCS) across the country.”
“The Met works closely with the SARCS in London, known as the Havens, which make a great difference to both victims and investigators. As previously announced, Sapphire, the Met’s unit for rape and serious sexual violence, is to move into a new operational command based within Specialist Crime, with the aim of ensuring that more cases reach court and get a conviction. However, under-reporting remains a serious issue and we urge victims to continue to come forward to police or Havens.”
Mayor Johnson said the increase in rapes “present us all with a challenge” and said he would be announcing a “a comprehensive strategy to confront violence against women” next week.
Kit Malthouse, Conservative member of the London Assembly and Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, commented: “Since being elected in May, the Mayor and I have encouraged a new direction for the Met, with a total focus on fighting crime and in particular youth violence. I am pleased that it seems to be paying dividends.”
Crime figures are available at www.met.police.uk/crimefigures