Homicides in London 1990 to 2023

This post tries to set London homicide statistics in context using publicly available data going back to 1990.

The basic figures for homicides (including both murder and manslaughter) over this period show a peak in around 2003, which is similar to that seen in England and Wales as a whole.

Homicides then fall quickly until around 2011 before a surge in 2017, which may or may not be reversing following the Covid pandemic.

The chart shows figures for the Metropolitan Police and City of London (hover over the bars to see a breakdown). It does not include the small number of cases each year which might be recorded by the British Transport Police (e.g. murders at railway stations), as they are only available for the BTP as a whole (covering England, Wales and Scotland). Note also that there was a change from recording by calendar year to financial year in 1998.

London’s population over this period has grown from around seven million to nearly nine million. The breakdown by age shows (Stats via datacommons.org) that this growth hasn’t been consistent but doesn’t really help explain the rise, fall and rise again in the number of homicides.

Another good source of data from 2003 onwards is available via the London datastore.

The Metropolitan Police also has its own homicide dashboard for the same time period, including a breakdown by domestic abuse and ethnicity.

Finally here is a chart displaying the homicide rate for each police force. The Metropolitan Police is fourth highest at 14 (homicides per million population for the period between April 2020 and March 2023). Cleveland has the highest at 15.8 and Surrey has the lowest at 2.8.

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Notes: The first chart combines the Office for National Statistics historical crime data with the most recent ONS Homicide bulletin, which has a breakdown of homicides by police force area in the appendix tables.

See also our previous post on homicides in England and Wales from 1898).

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