London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s recent comments linking mobile phone robberies to the city’s endemic knife crime have ignited a storm of controversy. During an interview on Sky News, Khan attributed the high rate of cellphone thefts as a significant factor contributing to the knife crime crisis. His remarks have sparked a backlash, with commentators and social media users questioning the correlation and criticizing Khan’s overall handling of crime in the city.
Linking Mobile Phone Robberies to Knife Crimes
In the interview, Khan blamed mobile phone manufacturers for making devices too easy to steal, thereby indirectly encouraging knifepoint robberies. He highlighted his ‘public health’ approach to knife crime and pointed fingers at national policies and a lack of public investment in services for the rise in knife crime in London. Khan also used the interview to draw attention to his efforts to work with authorities and mobile phone companies to make stolen phones useless, thereby reducing their resale value and decreasing the incentive for theft.
Backlash and Criticism
Despite Khan’s explanation, his remarks were met with widespread criticism. Social media users and commentators accused the Mayor of failing to make a significant impact on the city’s crime rates. They point to the Metropolitan Police’s data which reveals that general knife crime with injury has fallen by only 1% since Khan took office. The debate intensified after a 16-year-old boy was tragically killed in a stabbing incident on New Year’s Eve, leading some commentators to call for Khan’s resignation.
Looking at the Numbers
Recent data from the Metropolitan police and the mayor’s own figures also reveal a nuanced picture. While gun and knife crime have dropped in London, the decrease is mainly confined to certain categories such as ‘knife crime with injury under 25.’ Meanwhile, hundreds of injuries are inflicted on young people by knives each year in the city’s most dangerous estates. A report by Policy Exchange indicates that any reduction in knife crime during the pandemic was temporary, suggesting that the problem remains far from resolved.