Maybe the alarmist headlines about knife crime have been worrying you lately, or perhaps you're planning on moving to the capital and are apprehensive about knife crime rates. Just how high are knife crime levels in London, and what should you look out for when living there?
First of all, let's dispel the alarmist myths and look to the official stats rather than perceptions. A few months ago, we reported that, overall, London came 21 out of 30 cities assessed for crime rates, ambulance efficiency, and other, non-crime-related risks. So, yes, London does have higher than average crime rates, although nowhere near the worst in the UK.
But is London the knife-wielding cesspit it has been portrayed as by some media sources and world leaders (we're looking at you, Mr Trump) lately? Let's delve a little deeper into official Met Police crime stats (opens in new tab), which make for educational reading for anyone looking to move into town or to move boroughs.
Let's take the central London Borough of Westminster: it has the highest rates of possession of weapons, with 237 such crimes recorded between February and July this year. Alarming? Maybe, but there were also 23, 897 thefts, which puts the 'possession of a weapon' stat in considerable perspective. While theft is certainly unpleasant, it's hardly life threatening. If you live in central London, you're much more likely to suffer from this crime than any other.
In the Borough of Camden, theft also came first, at 8,475 crimes recorded in the same period. It's true that there were 3,310 counts of 'violence against the person' (which can mean many different types of incidents, although excludes sexual assault), but then vehicle offences and burglaries combined accounted for more crimes in the area (3,460). And there were 93 cases of possession of weapons, or about 0.5 per cent of the total crime rate.
What these statistics show is that, for the most part, while you should be aware of knife crime when living in London, you're at a far greater risk from having your phone stolen, or your house or car broken into, than you are from being attacked by someone carrying a weapon. And while it's still a good idea to abide by common sense (not walking in poorly lit areas alone at night, for instance), knife crime in the capital is still low – comparatively.
While we're on the subject of burglaries, they go up in autumn. So, read our guide on how to protect your home from burglary.