Fifteen murders took place on London's streets in February compared to 14 in New York, according to Scotland Yard and the New York Police Department, amid accusations London Mayor Sadiq Khan is not doing enough to beat gang violence.
"It's not just Mr. Khan's problem", Jermaine Lawlor a former London gang member told Sputnik. "It's predominantly Black young men killing in a tit for tat game and allocating more money won't solve it — it's down to education," he said.
— Deborah St. Louis (@deborah_stlouis) April 3, 2018
Dear mayor @SadiqKhan. 6 rival gangs gathered amongst 2000 young black people in Central London on Sunday for almost 7 hours and not a single fight was recorded. @spacnation continues to establish a road to recovery on epidemics affecting our community. https://t.co/UlqXvJ80Fg— Lennox Elias A. (@LennoxElias) April 3, 2018
Jermaine became involved in gangs when he was eight years old, he now works as a youth violence consultant to prevent others from becoming involved in gang crime.
"People in the communities need to take some responsibility; there's a disease amongst ethnic minority communities, a slave type mentality where gang leaders control the sub society," Jermaine Lawlor told Sputnik.
Meanwhile the head of London's Metropolitan Police Service, Cressida Dick, has partly blamed social media for the rise in gang crime.
"It makes [violence] faster, it makes it harder for people to cool down," she told London newspaper The Times. "I'm sure it does rev up."
A claim refuted by ex-gang member turned youth worker, Jermaine Lawlor. "Social media is a factor but it's not the reason why gun and knife crime is on the rise, social media is being used as a scapegoat," Lawlor told Sputnik. "The Metropolitan Police Commissioner is choosing to be ignorant," he said.
Gang violence has crept up Britain's political agenda following the fatal shooting of a 17 year old girl in London on Easter Monday, the 47th murder victim this year.
Police and paramedics found the teenager with a gunshot wound in Tottenham, a deprived area of north London."Despite the best efforts of the London Ambulance Service, she was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:43pm", a spokesperson from Scotland Yard said.
Half an hour later, police were attending another shooting just three miles away in east London where two teenagers were suffering from gunshot and knife wounds.
Separate investigations have been launched after two teenagers were shot in north and east London. A 17-year-old girl has died in Tottenham and a 16-year old boy is currently in a critical condition after a shooting in Walthamstow. https://t.co/Rf2CN8Rma2 pic.twitter.com/N15CwIi62Q— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) April 3, 2018
However the rise in gang violence is "not a new phenomenon", according to Lawlor. "This has been going on for over a decade — but numerous cuts to sectors working in socially deprived areas has had a tremendously negative impact on the physical and mental well-being of people living in poverty," he said.
"They're socially disengaged, exempt from services at a time where crime is on the rise and the Metropolitan Police Service is being cut," Lawlor said.
"It's about education, knowledge and reprogramming your mind. I was trained to have a killer instinct but I managed to change that mindset through faith, hard work and a shift in my emotional and psychological processes," Lawlor told Sputnik.
Scotland Yard has launched 47 murder inquiries so far this year, compared with 130 for the whole of 2017.
"The Mayor is deeply concerned by violent crime in the capital — every life lost to violent crime is a tragedy," a spokeswoman for London Mayor Sadiq Kkan said in a statement.
Agree. Government cuts have decimated services for young Londoners across our city. City Hall have announced our £45 million Young Londoners fund to support young people to thrive and fulfil their potential. https://t.co/i0XKj0MwEy— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) April 3, 2018
"Our city remains one of the safest in the world…but Sadiq wants it to be even safer and is working hard to brig an end to this violent scourge," Mr. Khan added.
Osman Sharif, 16, is the ninth teen stabbed to death in London this yr. Next govt must tackle the root cause & get to grips with this issue. pic.twitter.com/kfJCHeZV2v— Noel Phillips (@Noel_Phillips) June 7, 2017