London's murder rate overtakes New York's for first time in modern history

PHOTO: Armed police gesture as they walk along Oxford street following an incident in central London on Nov. 24, 2017.PlayDaniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images
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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.

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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.

PHOTO: New York City Police Department officers stand guard near the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal, Dec. 11, 2017 in New York. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
New York City Police Department officers stand guard near the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal, Dec. 11, 2017 in New York.

For the year 2018 so far, London still has fewer killings than New York, 46 compared to 50.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office said it was “deeply concerned” by the latest figures of knife crime in the capital, but insisted that London “remains one of the safest [cities] in the world.”

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.

PHOTO: Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick attends the Metropolitan Police Service Passing Out Parade for new recruits at the Metropolitan Police Service Training College, Hendon on Nov. 3, 2017 in London.Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick attends the Metropolitan Police Service Passing Out Parade for new recruits at the Metropolitan Police Service Training College, Hendon on Nov. 3, 2017 in London.

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.

PHOTO: New Scotland Yard headquarters is pictured in central London, on March 27, 2018. Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images
New Scotland Yard headquarters is pictured in central London, on March 27, 2018.

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.

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