Levels of violence falling despite knife crime increase
The overall level of violence in England and Wales is falling despite an increase in knife crime, according to figures from hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments.
Analysis by Cardiff University found admissions of patients injured in violent attacks dropped by 1.7 per cent in 2018. The findings suggest that the rise in knife crime, gun crime and homicide recorded by police is not part of a wider upsurge. However, the researchers admit that the rise of “high harm” crimes amid falling overall violence was “difficult to explain”.
The National Violence Surveillance Network (NVSN) survey has recorded a near consistent downward trend in violent crime since it was launched in 2002, although levels have remained relatively stable in recent years.
The analysis was based on data collected from a sample of 126 A&E departments, minor injury units and walk-in centres across Wales and all nine regions of England. It found 187,584 people attended A&E with injuries sustained in violence in 2018 – 3,162 fewer than the previous year.
Motives and circumstances behind killings have varied – as have the age and gender of the victims.
The National Violence Surveillance Network also suggested fewer younger people sought hospital treatment, which they said was “contrary” to public perceptions of a violent crime “epidemic” among teenagers.
However, there was a small increase in the number of women who were attacked and injured and a rise of more than five per cent among both men and women aged 51 and over.
The figures contrast with official police data, which suggests violent crime recorded in England and Wales rose 19 per cent in the 12 months to the end of September.