Knife crime rises fast as muggers target gadgets

A surge in the number of murders and knifepoint muggings overshadowed yesterday's release of crime figures that showed the number of offences is falling.

The total number of offences reported to police fell by 4 per cent to 4.1 million in the year to the end of September – but violent attacks increased. More than 15,300 robberies with knives were recorded – a rise of 10 per cent – as offenders targeted smartphones, iPods and handbags.

Half of the country's muggings took place in London, which suffered a 13 per cent rise over the year. The number of robberies in the West Midlands also increased by 10 per cent.

But levels of gun crime dropped by 13 per cent, along with falls in burglary and car theft.

Separate figures revealed a 4.6 per cent rise in the number of killings – from 608 to 636 – in England and Wales in the year to March 2011, a figure that includes the 12 victims of the Cumbrian gunman Derrick Bird. Sixty of those killed were shot (including two by crossbow) and 232 by a sharp instrument.

The Home Office also disclosed that 29 murderers and six people convicted of manslaughter went on to kill again between 2000-01 and 2010-11.

The rise in recorded violent crime reflected the findings of the British Crime Survey, which is based on interviews with the public. It reported a rise of 11 per cent in "personal crime", which includes attacks and muggings, from 3.5 million to 3.9 million incidents in the year to September 2011.

The survey found "no statistically significant change" in the estimated overall crime rate, which remained at about 9.7 million incidents. Nick Herbert, the Policing minister, said the figures showed a "mixed picture" without evidence of a shift in the long-term trends.

But he added: "There are areas of concern and, as we have consistently said, crime remains too high."

But Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, said: "These figures are deeply worrying and show this is the wrong time to cut 16,000 police officers."


Robberies last year involved knives, as items like iPods and handbags were targeted.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas