The streets of London are now more deadly than New York, with the capital recording a higher murder rate for the first time in modern history in February.
The past two months of bloodshed in London have overtaken New York’s murder rate, official police figures show, as Scotland Yard battles a 38 per cent surge in killings since 2014.
Fifteen people were killed in London in February, compared to 14 in New York.
And the trend looks set to continue, with 22 killings in London in March – one more than the city on the other side of the Atlantic, where urban violence has long been prevalent.
Seyed Khan, 49, who was found dead in London at the beginning of the month - on February 1
Youth worker Kwabena Nelson (left), 22, who was stabbed to death in Tottenham and Hasan Ozcan who was fatally knifed - both on February 3
Hannah Leonard, who was 55, was found dead on February 9 in a flat in Camden, North London
The figures emerged as Scotland Yard was called to yet another stabbing in the early hours of yesterday.
Devoy Stapleton, 20, was knifed to death on his way home from a night out at 1am in Wandsworth. It is the 31st fatal stabbing in London this year.
The surge in killings comes as rates of rape, robbery, and violent offences in London have already eclipsed those in New York.
London and New York both have a population of about 8 million and an annual police budget of around £3 billion.
New York – which has 40,000 police officers to London’s 32,000 – was renowned for violence with more than 2,000 killings a year in the early 1990s, but the NYPD introduced a zero tolerance approach to low-level crime and flooded problem areas with patrols.
The force also put a huge amount of emphasis on community policing.
The murder rate plummeted from 2,245 in 1990 to a record low last year of 286.
While both London and New York have populations of around 8 million, Office of National Statistics figures published in October suggest you are almost six times more likely to be burgled in the British capital than in the US city, and one and a half times more likely to be robbed.
London also has almost three times the number of reported rapes, but until February this year the murder rate in New York remained higher.
The total number of London murders, even excluding victims of terrorism, has risen by 38 per cent since 2014. In contrast, the number of murders in New York have fallen by 87 per cent since its 1990s peak.
Scotland Yard Commissioner Cressida Dick says social media sites could be to blame, claiming that disputes on online messaging boards and video sites were escalating to murder ‘within minutes’.
‘There’s definitely something about the impact of social media in terms of people being able to go from slightly angry with each other to “fight” very quickly,’ she said.
She also wants to increase the use of stop and search, which fell by up to two thirds when Theresa May was Home Secretary.
Italian teenager Sabri Chibani, 19, was stabbed to death in south London on February 11, just weeks after moving to the capital to find work
Murder victim Bulent Kabala (left) was shot dead in targeted hit in Barnet on February 12, while Lewis Blackman (right), 19, was stabbed to death after a party in Kensington, west London, on February 18
Promise Nkenda, pictured here, was stabbed to death on Valentine's Day, February 14
Rotimi Oshibanjo, 26, pictured left, was killed on February 19 after he was knifed, and Adbikarim Hassan, 17, pictured right, was stabbed to death a day later on February 20
Sadiq Mohamed, 20, pictured here, was stabbed to death on February 20 in a spate of deadly crimes in the capital
Jozef Boci, 30, was assaulted on February 23, making him the final murder victim of the month
Scotland Yard (32,000 officers) and the New York City Police Department (40,000) both have budgets of £3 billion a year.
But the NYPD has introduced a zero tolerance approach to low-level crime and has flooded problem areas with patrols.
Critics say Scotland Yard has done the exact opposite in the face of budget cuts, as it has ‘screened out’ a number of low-level offences and moved officers from neighbourhood policing to pursue historic child abuse inquiries, terrorism and other high-profile inquiries.
David Green, of the think-tank Civitas, said: ‘There is now a higher risk of being a victim of violent crime in London than New York, which is pretty staggering.
'There is no way in which the police can be expected to deal with a bigger population in London and a lot of gang activity if you keep cutting budgets and reducing officer numbers.
‘If you look at cities like New York and Boston, they have poured a lot of resources into diverting people from gang activity and putting more officers on the street.
‘We have reduced visible policing – it’s the exact opposite.’
A spokesman for London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘Our city remains one of the safest in the world thanks to the hard work and dedication of our police officers, but Sadiq wants it to be even safer and is working hard to bring an end to this violent scourge.’
A Met Police spokesman said: ‘One murder is one too many, and we are working hard with our partners to understand the increase and what we can all do to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place.’
Dreadful milestone shames those who protect us, commentary by ROSS CLARK
Tom Wolfe’s best-selling novel of the 1980s, Bonfire of the Vanities, painted a chilling picture of New York as a crime-ridden metropolis where death stalked the sidewalk and murderous, random violence was a way of life.
Back then the Big Apple was known as the ‘Rotten Apple’ and its reputation haunted it for decades. London by comparison was a haven.
A young man became the 31st person to be fatally stabbed in London this year as he walked home early