A recent spike in knife crimes in London is causing fear in teenagers of walking home.

On the 26th April, yet another teenager was fatally stabbed in Newham. The 18-year-old, Junior Jah, became the 12th adolescent to die from a knife attack in London this year, killed only a mile away from the spot at which another teenager died days ago. Fares Maatou, who was stabbed on 23rd April, was only 14, making him the youngest teenager to be murdered this way in London in 2021.

Such stabbings are having a reverberation throughout the city. A teenager who lives close to the spot in Dulwich where there was recently a non-fatal stabbing said: “It makes me feel unsafe in my own community, it’s even scarier as it happened in broad daylight”.

London had a homicide rate of 14.5 per million people over April 2010 to March 2020, which was the third worst homicide rate in England and Wales, according to Statista. In 2019/20 alone, 145 people were murdered, mostly killed in knife crimes.

By 25th February, 18 people had already been murdered in the capital in 2021, according to the Metro newspaper. That would represent a three-year high, despite the city being under lockdown during the period.

A 14-year-old student said: “I would not say that I have ever felt safe walking around in London, but especially in light of recent events, I am worried about taking public transport or walking in fear of being attacked.”

It is particularly worrying that London’s murder rate is continuing to rise even during the pandemic, which was already a stressful period for young people. With these growing numbers, teenagers may feel it is increasingly dangerous for them in the capital, which has the effect of causing them to carry a weapon in case they need to defend themselves.

In 2019, the Home Office released an official estimate that more than 17,500 boys aged 14 carry a knife or another weapon in England and Wales, a large proportion of whom had had these weapons used against them at some point.