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Travel Insurance Direct notes with concern the figures showing London’s homicide rate has risen by 12% in the past year
“Instances of violent crime are at a 7-year high.” Said travel safety expert Phil Sylvester. “You should be aware of this trend, but not overly concerned because tourists are not being targeted.” He added.
He said police statistics revealed the vast majority of the 250 stabbing victims in the UK last year were young men under the age of 21, who were stabbed by other young men under the age of 21.
“This is different to random attacks meant to create a widespread sense of fear, terrorism if you like.”
Mr Sylvester pointed to statements by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan who told the media in November 2018:
“There are deep societal problems that lead to young people getting involved in crime. I’m not excusing criminality but it means tackling the causes of violent crime. That means looking at adverse childhood experiences, looking at their families, are the children experiencing domestic abuse, or children who may have mental health challenges.”
Other reports suggest a surge in cocaine use is to blame. A Home Office report leaked to The Sunday Times, found a 42 per cent increase in positive tests for cocaine and a 28 per cent increase in drug injectors using crack cocaine, and 10 per cent rise in violent crime in 2018.
“This has overtones of what New York was like back in the 1970’s” said Mr Sylvester.
“But I’m sure the London police have learned lessons from those days. It’s certainly heartening tom see so many police on the streets and so many seizures of weapons.”
Mr Sylvester said being aware of the trend is a good way to protect yourself if you decide to visit London.
“As a tourist it is extremely unlikely you will be a victim. But be aware that if you find yourself in an argument with a young person, encounter someone who is affected by drugs, they very well may have a knife and could use it.”
“If you have a feeling you have strolled into a ‘dodgy’ area trust your instincts and remove yourself. And of course, never, ever get involved in the buying of illegal drugs such as cocaine. The characters you meet in that world pose a significant risk to you.”
If you’re a young person travelling, having student travel insurance is all the more important, in the unlikely case that something does happen.