City of London witnesses 35% crime rate spike


Crime in the Square Mile has gone up by 35% over the last year, according to the latest police reports. So far this year the 755-strong City of London Police force has investigated 4,576 crimes, compared with 3,397 for the previous year.

Temporary commander Dave Evans told councillors that “crime figures are stubbornly high”.

The increase was branded as “just not good enough” by councillor Tijs Broeke. He said he was also concerned by the impact of policing Extinction Rebellion protests as “all the time they are taking away from our officers”.

Across England and Wales more than half of police forces also said crime went up this year. City of London Police said it had a 17% detection rate, with positive outcomes, including community resolutions in 18% of cases. The record this year has seen a  380% increase – or 11 crimes – in burglaries at flats and houses in the City.

Burglars are most likely to take jewellery and cash and are more likely to strike over the weekend. They also have their eye on laptops and tablets. Police said that although the numbers are relatively low, the number of cases have been above the five-year average for the last six months.

Tourists and business travellers have also suffered and burglars targeting hotel rooms and short-term lets are most likely to make off with cash and bank cards.

There’s also been a 98% increase in all other theft – or 719 crimes – criminal damage is up 43%, or 43 crimes. This includes a slogan sprayed on the side of the Old Bailey during Extinction Rebellion protests in the City.

Drug trafficking has gone up 51%, or 51 crimes, robbery of personal property went up by 73%, or 29 crimes. However, this has dropped since spikes in June and September because police are targeting hotspots.

And police said the number of bags which were stolen from gyms and bars and distraction thefts also went up by 41%, or 122 cases. These include every office workers’ nightmare when their laptop or mobile phone disappears in the blink of an eye. Police said these crimes account for a third of all crime across the Square Mile.

There was also a 42% rise in violence without injury. Police said the area around Liverpool Street and Bishopsgate was a hotspot for common assault, especially in the evening.

Commander Evans explained to the Police Authority Board’s  performance and resource management committee that “we realise we can’t arrest our way out of the situation because of the crimes we have”. However, he pointed out that overall “the majority of our crime is low level, high volume,” and said that Extinction Rebellion protests over Easter also put pressure on resources.

There were also “substantial vacancies” in the force, he added.

At the same time violence with injury went down by 31%, or 32 cases, with a 33% drop, or 11 cases of robberies at businesses. Stalking and harassment dropped by 32%, or 26 crimes, car theft went down by 38%, or 15 cases, and bike theft dropped by 35%, or eight cases.