Young people are increasingly concerned about crime and safety in London, even though their confidence in local policing remains high.
This is according to new polling published today by Centre for London, the capital’s dedicated think tank, which is calling on the Mayor and the police to respond to these rising concerns and make young people feel safe in their city as lockdown restrictions are eased.
The polling, conducted in partnership with Savanta, found that Londoners aged between 16-24 think that knife crime (51 per cent) hate crime (42 per cent) and street harassment (45 per cent) have all increased in their neighbourhoods over the last 12 months. Their responses reflect the mood following the high-profile deaths of 21 teenagers who been killed in London this year, even though the number of police officers on the ground has increased and crime levels overall fell during lockdown.
Young people in London are also worried about other people’s safety in their neighbourhoods; nearly half (46 per cent) of 16–34-year-olds agree that certain groups of people would not feel safe in their neighbourhoods, compared to a quarter (24 per cent) of Londoners aged 55 and over. And while London is a multicultural city, younger Londoners are also more likely to think that there isn’t much mixing between different groups in their neighbourhoods (46 per cent of 16–34-year-olds agree vs 33 per cent of 55+).
But, although concern for personal safety and concerns about integration remain high, young Londoners also appear to have greater confidence in the police. Young Londoners are more likely to be happier with policing in their local area than their older counterparts (47 per cent of 16–34-year-olds were happy compared to 39 per cent of Londoners aged 55+).
Nick Bowes, Chief Executive of Centre for London said:
“There is growing concern among young Londoners that crime is rising in their local neighbourhoods. These findings should be a warning for the government, Mayor and Met Police that as we emerge from the tough months of lockdown, the difficulties the city faced with crime before the pandemic have not gone away.
“While crimes overall fell during lockdown, recent months have seen high profile incidents that are clearly worrying young people in London. And the fact that hate crime is a growing concern should worry the whole city, given London’s reputation for openness and celebrating diversity.
“For the last 12 months young people have had to put their lives on hold. They deserve to feel and be safe in their city, but as we emerge from lockdown and start the summer this survey shows that perception and fear remain high.
“Plans from the Mayor and Met Police to drive down violent crime are of course welcome, but we need to hear more from the Police on what they are doing to respond to Londoners’ concerns.
“The Mayor, council leaders and MPs need to continue to bang the drum for investment in London to address the root causes of the violent crime which is blighting young people’s lives.”
The survey is the fourth issue of The London Intelligence by Centre for London in partnership with Savanta.