LONDON – May 13, 2020 – The poverty and hopelessness that fuel violence have worsened during the coronavirus lockdown and offending will increase unless the government finds more money to thwart the inevitable crime rise, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement.
The mayor of London has demanded the Prime Minister Boris Johnson spearhead efforts to stop a rise in offending that police around the country have raised fears about as lockdown restrictions have ravaged the economy and caused a significant rise of poverty. Khan said there was a “proven link” between rising poverty, increasing deprivation, increasing mental health problems and rises in serious violence.
In a letter to Johnson seen by the Guardian, he says deepening poverty caused by the economic damage from the virus may result in rises in crime.
“We should be under no illusion that the underlying causes of violence have gone away,” he wrote.
“I am deeply concerned that many could be made far worse by the current crisis and its economic consequences, and that with our police service more stretched than ever, violence could resurface as soon as lockdown is eased,” the mayor added.
Khan said young people had been hard hit, with their mental health suffering after they lost diversionary activities and the ability to see their friends and youth workers during the lockdown.
“We know that the most vulnerable young people have struggled to access the same level or quality of interaction with education and youth services that they have previously relied on. I have also seen data which shows that these disproportionalities are even wider for the most deprived households,” he added.
“This is deeply concerning given the proven link between serious violence and deprivation, poor mental health and poverty,” Khan said.
Figures from the Metropolitan police, which covers London, show that since March 12 there have been huge falls in crime compared with the same time last year.
Total offenses in the biggest police force area in the UK are down 32%, burglary has fallen 38%, robbery is down by 48%, theft is 56% down and violence with injury has fallen by 25%. Khan said Johnson should invest more money in things for the young to do, especially if the lockdown was eased more as the long school summer holidays started.
He wrote, “It is therefore essential that the government gives the strongest consideration to young people in its lockdown exit strategy. Otherwise, there is a serious risk of a return to previous levels of violence in London and in other major cities across the UK.”
The UK government and the state-controlled media are continuing the mainstream media policy and claims of how easing the lockdown will make matters worse. Yet, it’s unclear how, since the UK economy has been ravaged by the lockdown measures which only further exacerbated serious problems such as crime and poverty.