Westminster World looks into the number of young people affected by crime in London and whether they felt safe living in the capital.
The year 2019 in London has been overshadowed by knife crime, an increase in theft around the holidays and sexual crimes on public transportation. More recently the city experienced a terror attack at London Bridge, which has raised the question of personal safety among young Londoners.
A survey of over 300 London university students found that 1 in 4 young people has been affected by crime in London this year.
These results slightly differ from those gathered in the Youth Voice Survey undertaken by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) in January 2019. The MOPAC survey showed that 1 in 10 (about 12 percent) of 8,000 young people aged 11-16 had been the victim of a crime that previous year. They also showed that most of them felt safe where they lived and at school.
Our result that 28 percent of the people we surveyed (aged 20-35) have experienced crime throughout the year may suggest an increased risk of exposure to crime past the age of 16.
Those surveyed listed racial discrimination, theft and mugging, sexual assault, burglary and physical assault among the most common crimes they had personally experienced in the past month.
While 71.5 percent of participants had actually experienced no crime personally, the survey results revealed that racism and theft/mugging were the two most common crimes experienced by those who had, at 11.6 percent and 11.25 percent respectively. We compared these figures to other studies and research carried out this year to see if there was any correlation.
One girl we interviewed said: “I feel like there’s a lot of hate crime going on at the moment, especially with the election.“
Issues related to racism have been on the rise in recent years locally. According to Statista research the number of racial incidents recorded in London has increased from 12,784 in 2015 to 16,037 in 2019.
London also suffers the most from deaths in relation to racist incidents. Of all the 103 deaths caused by racism between 1993 and 2013 recorded in England and Wales, 28 took place in the capital city. This is the biggest number of deaths related to racism in the entire area surveyed.
There has also been a significant increase in the amount of theft crimes in London. According to the Metropolitan Police, theft offences reached a six-year high in 2019, with a total of 231,000 crimes being reported. Mobile phones and cash are among the top stolen items.
A street cleaner we interviewed, said: “I see these crimes happen all the time. There are CCTV cameras around, but nobody bothers to take any action, so the thieves have now become fearless.”
Young Londoners have also been affected by sexual assault and harassment with 7.28 percent falling victim in the last month. Sexual assault and harassment in particular seem to be a serious issue on public transport. One person, who was interviewed off camera, said: “The worst is when you physically can’t move because the Tube is so packed but you know someone is taking advantage of that to grope you.”
Reports from 2019 showed that sexual assaults reported on the Tube soared by 42 percent in the last four years. The number of sexual assaults across all lines has risen from 844 in 2015-16 to 1,206 in 2018-19.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has come under fire for failing to implement safety measures to reduce the occurrence of sexual assault on the Underground over the course of his mayoral term. There is currently a four-year wait until CCTV cameras will be installed on the Central line, which sees the most occurrences of sexual crimes of all the lines.
The Metropolitan Police were not able to assist with our student media query.
Words: Beth Keeley | Subbing: Natasha Nitturkar, Bowen Jiang, Veronica-Sofia Nitu | Video: Samaksh Raghav Kalra | Video Editing: Natasha Nitturkar | Graphics: Veronica-Sofia Nitu