Children and Teenagers commit 50% of London knife crime.

London knife crime - MapAid can help

Metropolitan police figures from 2019 showed that “half of all knife crime offenders in London are teenagers or even younger children”, including 8% being aged just ten to fourteen. Of course, young people are not always necessarily the perpetrator or the victim of knife crime in London, but as knife crime continues to rise consistently, the number of young people directly or indirectly involved in violent knife crime will only continue to grow.


Many young people will know someone who carries a knife, someone who has been stabbed, or someone who is themselves a perpetrator of knife crime. Whilst 99% of young people in the UK do not carry a knife, apparently, 1% do which doesn’t sound like much but actually equates to about 10,000 people in London alone!


This can be for a variety of reasons including intimidation, to earn respect, and primarily for self-protection. Many young people who carry a knife do not intend to use it, yet statistics show that if you carry a knife you are more likely to be hurt, sometimes by your own weapon.

The Office for National Statistics suggests that of the over 14,000 knife crime offences that occurred in the year ending September 2019, the perpetrators were “overwhelmingly young males with almost half aged 10 and 19”.


Whilst this shows that young males make up a significant proportion of knife crime offenders, there is no single profile that determines whether somebody will or won’t be involved in knife crime. Equally, there is rarely a single, simple reason that a young person will become involved in knife crime or feel they need to carry a knife, but some of the contributing factors can be:

  • A difficult home life including poverty, substance abuse and domestic violence.
  • A lack of direction, which allows outside forces such as gangs to take advantage of the young person’s absence of meaningful activity.
  • The illegal drug market, where young people are often groomed, coerced or intimated into trafficking drugs as part of an organised criminal County Lines operation.

Knife crime offences are rising across the UK, but ONS data shows that London consistently suffers the highest number of knife crime offences per capita of any region in the UK.


To illustrate the extent of the problem of knife crime across Greater London, we at Global MapAid have produced the London Knife Crime Map, which displays the number of knife crimes in 2018/19 (plus has additional data on the number of knife crimes in the previous year, and how many of these incidents lead to injuries) for each London borough, overlaid by any Lower-Layer Super Output Areas  (essentially local neighbourhoods) within London that are in the top 10 or 20th percentile for crime score across England, using ONS Index of Multiple Deprivation data. Tower Hamlets, Lambeth and Southwark had the highest rate of knife crime with injury in 2018/19, each with over 200 reported incidents resulting in a fatal death.


These boroughs unsurprisingly also have a large number of neighbourhoods that fall into the top 10 or 20% by crime score.


Clearly there are a number of boroughs and specific neighbourhoods across London that are in need of serious attention and funding in order to run programmes and initiatives that reduce the incidence of knife crime. Already a number of such schemes exist, spearheaded by the Mayor of London, but the data shown on our map clearly indicates that there is still far more work to be done. There is no easy solution to reducing knife crime and empowering young people to feel secure and protected without the need to carry a knife but in order to ensure the wellbeing and safety of young people, both those directly and indirectly involved in knife crime, far more needs to be done.

What next?


At Global MapAid, we produce maps like the London Knife Crime Map in order to visually illustrate where aid is needed most. But further to that, we want to map solutions and, crucially, where there are gaps in solutions. Using our maps we want to work with local governments, councils and the private sector to resolve the problems which we have highlighted!


If so, please get in touch and we will be happy to discuss your ideas.


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