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Rising toll: London’s teen homicides increase in 2023

More teenage homicides were recorded in London last year than in 2022 after 21 teenagers were killed.

This marked a significant increase from the 14 cases reported in the preceding year, though still below the 2021 high of 30.

18 teenagers were victims to stabbings, two were fatally shot, and one teenager’s life ended in a road incident involving a moped and a car. The year’s last such incident occurred on New Year’s Eve when 16-year-old Harry Pitman was fatally stabbed in Primrose Hill, Camden, during a festive gathering.

Metropolitan Police Commander Owain Richards expressed the force’s commitment to curbing this violent trend, citing collaborative efforts with the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), schools, local authorities, and community groups. These initiatives aim to address violence as a public health issue, focusing on prevention and community engagement.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports a 21% rise in knife crime incidents in the capital between July 2022 and June 2023, totaling 13,503 cases. While this number is high, it remains 8% below the pre-pandemic level. In November, the Royal London Hospital told the BBC its staff were saving “twice the number” of stabbing victims they used to save.

This situation has not gone unnoticed by the Mayor of London, with the issue poised to be a central topic in the upcoming mayoral elections. The VRU, operational since 2019, is one of the key strategies in place to address this challenge.

Dr. Iain Overton, the Executive Director of Action on Armed Violence, said of the statistics: “As we confront the distressing increase in teenage homicides in London, it’s crucial to recognise that behind each statistic is a young life cut tragically short and a community left in mourning. The rising trend in knife crime and youth violence not only reflects a public safety crisis but also underscores the urgent need for comprehensive action.”

“The capital’s approach must be multifaceted, combining law enforcement efforts with proactive community engagement and prevention strategies. This is not just a policing issue; it’s a societal one that demands a concerted effort from all sectors – from education to health, from local communities to national policy makers. We owe it to our young people to create a safer, more nurturing environment where violence is not an everyday reality.”

London’s 2023 teenage homicide victims:

  • 10 April: Chima Osuji, 17, was fatally stabbed after being chased by an attacker in Chingford, east London
  • 13 April: Tyler McDermott, 17, died after being found with a gunshot wound in Tottenham, north London
  • 5 May: Wazabakana Elenda Jordan Kukabu, known as Jordan, 18, from Romford, Essex, was stabbed to death near Dagenham Heathway Underground station in east London
  • 5 May: Renell Charles, 16, a pupil at Kelmscott School in Walthamstow, north-east London, was ambushed and fatally stabbed in the chest near his school
  • 19 June: Khaled Saleh, 17, was found with stab wounds in Paddington Green, central London
  • 26 JuneVictor Lee, 17, from Ealing, west London, was found stabbed in a canal under Scrubs Lane, near Willesden Junction
  • 29 June: Leonardo Reid, 15, was stabbed during a music video shoot in Elthorne Road, Archway, north London
  • 3 July: Andre Salmon, 18, was riding a moped when he was shot in the chest in Stamford Road, Tottenham, north London
  • 9 July: Rahaan Ahmed Amin, 16, was stabbed in the heart in West Ham Park in Newham, east London
  • 14 July: Claudyo Jauad Lafayette, 17, was stabbed in a fight in the street following a birthday party in Granville Road, Kilburn, north-west London
  • 28 July: Stefan Valentine Balaban, 19, was stabbed in Whitchurch Lane, Edgware, north London
  • 7 August: Yusuf Mohamoud, 18, was found with fatal knife injuries near a supermarket in Regent’s Park Road, Finchley, north London
  • 4 September: Anis Omar Zen, 19, was fatally stabbed in Masefield Avenue in Stanmore, north London
  • 20 September: Max Moy Wheatley, 19, was stabbed in Jubilee Country Park close to Tent Peg Lane in Petts Wood, south-east London
  • 27 September: Elianne Andam, 15, was stabbed on her way to school in Croydon, south London
  • 1 October: Taye Faik, 16, died after he was stabbed near his home in Kendal Gardens, Edmonton, north London.
  • 9 October: Tafari Thompson-Mintah, 16, was killed when a car hit his moped in Sevenoaks Way, Orpington, south-east London
  • 29 October: Mehak Sharma, 19, was fatally stabbed in Ash Tree Way, Croydon, south London, weeks after moving from India to the UK to become a carer
  • 15 November: Simarjeet Singh Nangpal, 17, was stabbed to death in Burket Close, Hounslow, west London, after police were called to reports of a fight
  • 5 December: Ilyas Habibi, 17, was stabbed in Sutton High Street, south London, shortly after getting off a train on his way home from college
  • 31 December: Harry Pitman, 16, was stabbed in Primrose Hill, Camden, north London, after going to watch New Year fireworks with a group of friends