LONDON -- London’s monthly murder rate has overtaken New York City’s for the first time in modern history, according to new figures from the Metropolitan Police and the New York Police Department.
In February, 15 people were murdered in London, against 14 in New York. But in March, London had 22 murders, slightly more than the 21 in New York, according to London Metropolitan Police figures that have not yet been officially released but which were confirmed to ABC News.
For the year 2018 so far, London still has fewer killings than New York, 46 compared to 50.
New York and London have similar-size populations of around 8.5 million each. But the U.S. city’s murder rate has dropped dramatically, by about 87 percent, since its peak in the 1990s.
London’s murder rate has in contrast risen by 38 percent since 2014 when the city had 94 killings. There were 119 murders in 2015, 109 in 2016 and 134 in 2017.
The head of the Metropolitan Police Force, Cressida Dick, partly blamed social media for the rise in knife crime in London, which accounts for the majority of killings in the city.
Of the 46 murders in London this year, only four are confirmed so far to have been by gunshot although in several cases, confirmation of the cause of death is not yet final, according to the Metropolitan Policy.
The city's police head, Dick, told BBC radio that apps and social websites played a large role in escalating disputes into violence.
In December, she appealed for increased funding for police forces despite overall cuts to public services in order to fight the rise in knife crimes.
She told a panel of members of Parliament in November 2017 that a proposal to find $560 million in savings from the Metropolitan Police would lead to a cut of at least 27,000 police officers.