Research Could Help Police Forecast Knife Crime Hotspots

15 April 2019, 12:00 | Updated: 15 April 2019, 12:03

Police could now predict knife crime hotspots.
Police could now predict knife crime hotspots. Picture: PA

Police could predict the locations of fatal stabbings, by looking at data on non-fatal attacks from previous years.

Detective Chief Inspector John Massey of the Met's Homicide Squad, went through London knife assault records over a 12-month period, by hand, and found a link with knife attacks the following year.

DCI Massey uncovered 3,506 incidents where people were stabbed or cut but survived in 2016-17, and compared these to the locations of the 97 London homicides that occurred in 2017-18.

The research found 69 per cent of deaths were in areas where at least one person was injured with a blade the year before.

The report says that data could be used to pinpoint risks of homicide in local areas and that extra police resources could be deployed.

"Better data is needed to fight knife homicide," said study author Prof Lawrence Sherman from the University of Cambridge.

He went on to say: "If assault data forecasts that a neighbourhood is more likely to experience knife homicide, police commanders might consider everything from closer monitoring of school exclusions to localised use of stop-and-search." 

The research is revealed on the day the Home Secretary made a major announcement on the government's approach to tackling knife crime.