This analysis looks at the characteristics and risk/predictive factors behind rates of victimisation and rates of offending for both the ‘most serious violence’ and ‘secondary violence’ experienced by young people in London. Using MPS recorded crime data, it looks in more detail at the trends and profiles of ‘most serious violence’, knife crime, gun crime and homicides, and explores disproportionality by the ethnicity of those involved. Statistical modelling was undertaken to find the independent factors associated with rates of victimisation and offending relating to serious violence, and these findings are summarised in the chart below. Four separate models are presented looking individually for victims and offenders, for both the ‘most serious violence’ and ‘secondary violence’ offences.
Trends in serious violence experienced by young people
• All types of serious violence experienced by young people have fallen over the last four years for which full data are available between 2017/18 and 2020/21. The exception is homicide for which numbers were fairly steady over this period. Although the final of these four years was seriously impacted by the pandemic, data from early months of the current financial year suggest overall levels of serious violence are still below previous levels.
Victims of serious violence
- Two-thirds of young victims of the ‘most serious violence’ in London were male (66%) and one third were female (34%). The victims of the other types of violence were more likely to be male – knife crime (86%), gun crime (79%) and homicide (90%).
- Rates of victimisation were highest among those aged 20-24, except for knife crime where the rate was highest for those aged 15-19.
- Homicide victims were most likely to be victimised in their home borough (70%), followed by the ‘most serious violence’ (64%), knife crime (60%) and gun crime (59%).
- Using basic proportions (not accounting for relative population size), young White Londoners made up the highest proportion of all victims of serious violence except homicide. Thirty-nine per cent of victims of ‘most serious violence’; 41% of knife crime victims; and 41% of gun crime victims were White.
- For homicide, 62% of victims were young Black Londoners compared with 20% of White Londoners and 16% of Asian Londoners.
- But when accounting for differences in population size, young Black Londoners are disproportionately more likely than young White Londoners to be victims for all types of serious violence. This disproportionality was lowest for knife crime and highest for homicide.
- Young Black Londoners were 3.1 times more likely than young White Londoners to be a victim of knife crime and young Black males 3.4 times more likely than young White males to be a victim of knife crime.
- For homicide, young Black Londoners were 5.2 times more likely than young White Londoners to be a victim and young Black males 6.0 times more likely than young White males to be a victim.
- Analysis found that structural factors at an area-based level lie behind some of this disproportionality and can predict rates of victimisation resulting from serious violence in the Boroughs where victims live.
- Statistical modelling found that deprivation (living environment); area rates of risky health behaviour (indicated by rates of chlamydia); and school policy (rates of suspensions); as well as employment among young people; can predict the Boroughs with the highest rates of victimisation.
Offenders accused of serious violence against young people
• Offenders were much more likely to be male than victims. 86% of those accused of the ‘most serious violence’ were male compared with 66% of victims. Ninety-five per cent of offenders accused of knife and gun crime were male, and 94% of offenders accused of homicide.
Understanding serious violence among young people in London
- The offending rates for the ‘most serious violence’, knife crime and homicide were highest for those aged 15-19, and for gun crime, those aged 20-24. But the age of offenders ranged from 11-74.
- Around two-thirds of offenders accused of the ‘most serious violence’ (68%) and knife crime (62%)
- offended in their home borough. These figures were lower for homicide (57%) and gun crime (46%) where offenders were more likely to be accused of an offence in a different borough to the one where they lived than for other violent crime.
- The proportion of offenders who were of Black ethnicity ranged from almost half of the ‘most serious violence’ (46%) to two-thirds of homicides (65%). Offenders of White ethnicity were most likely to be accused of the ‘most serious violence’ (36%), and around a quarter of other serious violence. Offenders of Asian ethnicity ranged from 7% of gun crime to 12% of the ‘most serious violence’ and knife crime.
- When accounting for relative population size, as with victims, disproportionality was higher for offenders of Black ethnicity compared with those who were White for all categories of serious violence.
- This disproportionality was lowest for the ‘most serious violence’ and highest for homicide.
- Offenders of Black ethnicity were 4.5 times more likely than White offenders to be accused of the ‘most
- serious violence’ (5.2 times more likely for males) and 9.6 times more likely for homicide (11.6 times
- more likely for males).
- Individual characteristics of offenders should not be confused with the drivers of offending. Analysis
- found that structural factors at an area-based level can predict rates of offending for those accused of
- serious violence in the Boroughs where offenders live.
- Rates of offending are strongly associated with different measures of deprivation and poverty, including areas where people are most likely to struggle to access food. Statistical modelling found absence rates from secondary school were also a signficant factor in predicting the Boroughs with the highest rates of offending for serious violence.