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London’s murder rate soars past total for whole of 2017

The number of killings in London so far this year has now soared past the total in the whole of 2017.

A week of violence in the capital earlier this month – and two further suspected murders yesterday – have taken the total number of homicides to 121.

It means that with more than a month left to go until the New Year, the total is already above the 118 homicides seen in the capital in 2017.

Two murder probes have already been launched this week, with 35-year-old Devi Unmathallegadoo, dying from a stomach wound in Ilford, east London yesterday.

Ramanodge Unmathallegadoo, 50, has been charged with murder and will appear in court later today.

This morning, police announced a 62-year-old woman had been killed in Balham late last night and a 66-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder.

A year of bloodshed has seen 68 stabbings, 12 shootings and two deaths involving a knife and a gun.

In February, London’s murder rate rose past that of New York, with Scotland Yard looking at 15 suspicious deaths and the NYPD investigating 11. 

The murder rate surged again in the week from October 31, when there were five fatal stabbings.

The growing number of murders in the capital have happened in the south and north of London

What’s causing the rise in the murder rate? 

Police have pointed to links between violence and so-called county lines drug networks, where urban dealers force children and other vulnerable people to courier illegal substances to customers in more rural areas.

They are also known to take over innocent people’s homes to use as a base for crime.

Middle class cocaine users have come under fire from a number of public figures, including the country’s most senior police officer Scotland Yard Commissioner Cressida Dick, who pointed to the misery caused by the drugs trade.

Drill music, where rappers taunt rivals with lyrics laced with violence and threats, and the role of social media in escalating disputes have also come under the microscope, as have cuts to youth services and the police.

A breakdown of the first 100 murders showed only a quarter were thought to be gang-related.

Earlier this month, in the space of a week, Rocky Djelal, 38, was fatally stabbed in Rotherhithe, 15-year-old Jay Hughes was killed in Bellingham, Malcolm Mide-Madariola, 17, was was fatally knifed in Clapham, Ayodeji Habeeb Azeez, 22, was murdered in Anerley, and John Ogunjobi, 16, was killed in Tulse Hill. 

Experienced detectives say they have shocked by the volume of violent crime and ferocity of some attacks in the capital this year. 

A total of 20 of those killed have been teenagers, six of whom were shot and 14 of whom were stabbed.

The number is still below the 205 killings recorded between April 2003 and March 2004. 

Mayor Sadiq Khan has been criticised for failing to do enough to stop the violence.

He announced plans for a Violence Reduction Unit that would adopt the public health approach to tackle violent crime that was successfully used in Glasgow.

The Metropolitan Police Violent Crime Task Force has meanwhile seized 340 knives, 40 guns and 258 other offensive weapons in its first six months of operation, and making more than 1,350 arrests.