New numbers released by England’s Office for National Statistics are exposing the fallacy of gun control and crime reduction “across the pond.”
The country, which has tightly restricted gun ownership since 1996, has seen double-digit rises in criminal activity across the board in 2017, including a 26 percent rise in knife crime (the highest since 2011), 27 percent rise in firearm crimes and 19 percent rise in overall violent crime.
According to the Evening Standard, the city of London has seen a 47 percent rise in knife crimes, including “214 killings, 391 attempted murders, 438 rapes, 182 other sexual assaults, and 14,429 robberies. There were also more than 18,500 assaults involving an injury or intent to inflict harm with a blade and 2,816 threats to kill with a knife.”
According to The Telegraph, latest figures confirm London is more dangerous than New York, noting New York and London have similar populations (about 8 million), but in London burglary is six times more likely, rape is three times more likely, and the risk of being robbed is 50 percent higher.
The country, which has tightly restricted gun ownership since 1996, has seen double-digit rises in criminal activity across the board in 2017 …The causes remain uncertain, although The New York Times blamed hate crimes, terrorism and Brexit.
The Guardian reports that police staffing has fallen steadily in the last eight years and numbers are now at their lowest levels since 1985. Of those that remain, more than 90 percent are unarmed in London. Metropolitan Police announced earlier this month that, due to budget cuts, they would stop investigating “lower-level” offenses such as theft, burglary and assault. As the NRA reported earlier this year, support for arming British police has steadily risen, yet despite prominent terror attacks in 2017, no changes have been proposed.
There’s no estimates on how much armed civilians would reduce crime: The very suggestion is met with sharp criticism, while Britain’s self-defense laws are notoriously strict and geared towards protecting attackers. There are more than 1.3 million shotguns and more than a half-million other types of firearms in the United Kingdom.
A report earlier this year from The Guardian betrays an even darker secret: Crime may always have been this bad, and the National Office is only just now adjusting its methods to record it properly. For example, the homicide numbers reflect nearly a hundred manslaughter cases from 1989 only now showing up on the register.
“The Office for National Statistics is clear that much of the rise in violent offenses recorded by police is down to better recording by forces but also believes some of the increases may be genuine and clearly there is more we must do to tackle the violent crimes which blight communities,” the Home Office minister told The Guardian.
In other words, in seeking to mitigate fears of a statistical crime wave that may owe partially to better documentation, authorities are admitting the criminal activity may always have been there, and official records are only now catching up. This may be supported by the ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales, which polls civilians rather than law enforcement about existing crime. The civilian survey shows no increase in self-reported crime in the past year. (Civilian surveys are of course unable to reflect certain crimes such as murder.)
There’s no evidence to suggest what works for one culture and country would work for another. But increasingly, the evidence doesn’t indicate gun control is working for the United Kingdom. Given the rise in acid attacks in England and Wales, which has led to a new movement for acid control, it’s clear that making laws affecting the supply of weapons does not curb the demand for violence.
Crime measurements aren’t always complete, and are more complicated than any one issue. However, for gun control advocates who point to European societies for gun control, the argument is becoming increasingly ineffective, if not downright embarrassing.
David Burnett is a critical care registered nurse based in Lexington, Ky., the former president of Students for Concealed Carry, and a frequent contributor to A1F Daily.