While anti-gunners have long asked why we can’t be more like the United Kingdom when it comes to gun control, a recent sharp uptick in murders in London has officials across the pond wondering how they can be more like us.
The murder rate in London historically has lagged far behind that of New York City—which has a similar-sized population and police force—but February saw a reversal, with the NYPD investigating 11 murders that month to the Met’s 15. March continued the trend, with 21 murders investigated in New York City and 22 investigated in London. The deaths of a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl in early April brought London’s year-to-date total of suspected homicides to 50, surpassing the 2018 total of New York City. It’s worth mentioning that this is the first time London’s murder rate has surpassed that of New York City since 1800.
This dramatic rise in murders has even prompted one medical professional—Mark Griffiths, lead surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust in London—to compare the situation to an Afghan war zone. Griffiths says that treating shooting and stabbing victims has gone from being an uncommon occurrence to being a not-insignificant portion of his regular day. Worse, he says, the victims seem to be getting younger and younger.
“We used to look after people in their 20s. Now people are often in their mid to late teens, and children in school uniforms are being admitted under our care with knife and gun wounds,” Griffiths said on BBC’s “Today” show. “People expect to see people being killed on a daily basis. Members of the public who are not involved in gangs or violence let this pass without comment, and you get the society you deserve if you ignore violence.”
But while the city has authorized a fact-finding trip to New York and a £1.35 million online campaign featuring stories of teenage stabbing victims, no one in the city seems willing to discuss the main issue that separates New York City and London—namely, that while Gotham is admittedly no one’s idea of a pro-gun mecca, in London criminals enjoy a near certainty that they won’t face armed resistance.