A dark alley

South west London boroughs with the most crime are most deprived

South West London boroughs among those recording the most crime in the city are also the most deprived, recent data has shown.

Westminster, Croydon and Lambeth were among the London boroughs with the highest number of police-recorded crimes in the capital over the year ending September 2021, according to the latest statistics published by the ONS.

Other south west London boroughs, however, showed a very different picture, with the four boroughs recording the least crime in London being Merton, Sutton, Kingston and Richmond.

Comparing this data with poverty and inequality non-profit Trust for London’s 2021 London Poverty Profile, it appears that the south west London boroughs recording higher crime rates also record worse than average ratings across indicators such as homelessness, youth qualifications and premature mortality.

On the other hand, the boroughs with the least number of crimes recorded better than average ratings for many of the indicators.

Using the London Poverty Profile to rank boroughs and the City of London from 1 to 33, with 1 being the best-scoring across the indicators and 33 the worst, reveals a correlation between crime and deprivation in south west London.

Bruce Houlder, the founder of the youth violence initiative Fighting Knife Crime, said that young people in socially deprived areas who have no access to activities are especially at risk of getting involved in crime.

Houlder praised local initiatives such as the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund but believes the national government should consider these issues when it plans for the future.

He said: “There aren’t places being built for young people to spend time in healthy environments doing the things that they really ought to be doing and they would actually like doing.

“They’re not building sporting facilities, art centres, places to play music and that sort of thing, which young people need.”

Speaking particularly of young people involved in knife crime, he added: “They have lost the guidance that they should have and they’ve lost the mentoring that they should be entitled to receive and that’s how they end up, and they ruin their lives, and they ruin many other lives alongside it as well.”

Part of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper is a provision to provide youth services in the most deprived parts of England through a Youth Investment Fund as part of the National Youth Guarantee announced by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries at the beginning of the month.

The goal of this is to ensure that by 2025, every young person aged 11 – 18 has access to out-of-school activities.

Dorries said in a statement: “We want every young person, no matter where they’re from, to get the best start in life.

“That is why we are supporting young people with a National Youth Guarantee to access regular club activities, adventures away from home and volunteering opportunities.”

Speaking about the ONS crime statistics for areas policed by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave, Front Line Policing, said: “Following a year of sustained effort by the MPS to confront and prevent criminality, we are pleased to see crime falling in London by nearly 7% (6.8%).”

Featured image: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

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