NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Murder on the Rise in United Kingdom

May 1, 2003

Murder is declining in countries with which Britain likes to compare itself. The number of homicides in America fell from 24,700 to around 16,000 between 1991 and 2001, with lawless cities like New York leading the way. In France and Germany, it is down by more than a quarter since 1995. Yet Britain's homicide rate has risen steadily to almost 850 per year.

  • Gun crime and black-on-black killings are both on the increase, but neither can fully explain the rise in the murder rate.
  • Over the past three years, there have been 230 victims of shooting, compared with 345 who died after being hit or kicked.
  • Stabbing was by far the most common method of killing, accounting for 693 deaths.

Murder also remains an overwhelmingly white crime.

  • London is the only area where white victims (and perpetrators) are in a minority.
  • The capital's murder rate has been one of the few criminological constants of the past two decades, having held steady at around 200 per year.

The big growth area of recent years has been in young working-class men killing one another in provincial towns and cities. Although some of these men have fallen victim to drug-fuelled turf wars, alcohol appears to be a more important trigger.

Source: Article, "Keeping up the old traditions," Economist, May 2, 2003.


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