A Tale of Two Cities Comparing knife attacks murders and

A Tale of Two Cities: Comparing knife attacks, murders and homelessness between London and New York amid fears of rising subway violence rates is a shocking reminder of the Big Apple's crime-ridden subway in the 1980s

London and New York regularly compete for the title of best city in the world, but in recent years their problems have often taken center stage.

Today, the Mail's US correspondent revealed the shocking stories of subway workers struggling to curb the rise of flagrant lawbreaking on the network, describing them as a grisly reminder of the New York subway's descent into anarchy the 1970s and 80s.

In recent weeks, there have been reports of a man who appeared to be smoking crack cocaine in a subway car, an employee who suffered a fractured skull after being punched in the face by a fare evader, and a passenger who… was stabbed in the neck.

The comparison to New York's infamous subway system will worry any Londoner concerned about public safety in the British capital.

But how do both cities compare when it comes to overall crime rates and other serious social problems like homelessness? Below, Web examines the evidence.

Harry Pitman, 16, became London's last murder victim of 2023 when he was stabbed and killed on Primrose Hill on New Year's Eve

Murders, shootings and stabbings

Commentators have often drawn comparisons between murder rates in London and New York.

In February 2018, 15 people were killed in London and 14 in the Big Apple – causing a wave of headlines. But in general the murder rate in the British capital is far lower than in New York.

There were 104 murders in London last year, which equates to 12 per million people. This compares to 386 in New York, which is 45.4 per million.

Looser gun laws in the US are one reason shootings are far more common than in the UK.

A total of 1,150 people were shot in New York last year.

While corresponding figures are not yet available for London, Met statistics show that 175 incidents involving firearms were recorded between January and November.

London is notorious for its knife crime problem.

Last year saw another spate of senseless murders, including the murder of 16-year-old Harry Pitman, who was stabbed to death on Primrose Hill while waiting for the New Year's Eve fireworks.

In September, 15-year-old Elianne Andam was stabbed as she walked to school in Croydon.

New York is notorious for gun crime.  In February, a 22-year-old man was shot and killed in Times Square

New York is notorious for gun crime. In February, a 22-year-old man was shot and killed in Times Square

Again, different reporting methods made it difficult to accurately compare the levels of knife crime in London and New York across the year.

However, NYPD statistics show that from January 1 to August 13, 53 people died from stabbings in New York.

According to the London Murder Map, there were 41 cases in London during the same period.

Rough sleeping

Homeless people are a common sight in both cities, with the number of people sleeping rough increasing since the pandemic.

Local politicians in London have described the capital as the “epicenter” of Britain's homelessness crisis – with high rents driving people onto the streets.

Councilor Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham boroughs, said: “The situation is becoming increasingly uncontrollable and requires urgent government action. “We cannot continue in this disastrous direction.”

Rough sleepers lay in their makeshift beds outside shops on Oxford Street at dawn in August

Rough sleepers lay in their makeshift beds outside shops on Oxford Street at dawn in August

The issue came to public attention in December when a man sleeping outside a McDonald's was submerged in dirty water by a security guard who tried to move him along.

A shocking video uploaded to social media shows the security guard – who was later fired – using a mop to splash water across the floor next to where 25-year-old Aaron McCarthy was sitting.

Likewise, homelessness in New York has been described as a “massive humanitarian crisis.”

Despite New York City Mayor Eric Adams' efforts to combat homelessness, the number of people living on the streets has increased by nearly 18 percent in a year

Despite New York City Mayor Eric Adams' efforts to combat homelessness, the number of people living on the streets has increased by nearly 18 percent in a year

This came despite Mayor Eric Adams' administration taking aggressive measures to address the problem, including enforcement actions, searches and outreach initiatives.

The problem in NYC was exacerbated by the arrival of 100,000 migrants last year, putting pressure on the city's protection system.

Crime on public transport

Worrying figures show crime on the London Underground has risen by 56 per cent in a year, driven by a shocking rise in thefts and robberies.

The number of crimes on the subway stood at 10,836 between April and September this year, compared to 6,924 in the same period in 2022.

The number of registered thefts rose from 2,935 in 2022 to 5,378 this year.

Ricky Morgan, 35, slashed and stabbed passenger James Porritt in an unprovoked attack on the subway in July 2021.  He was sentenced to at least 16 years in prison

Ricky Morgan, 35, slashed and stabbed passenger James Porritt in an unprovoked attack on the subway in July 2021. He was sentenced to at least 16 years in prison

Meanwhile, the number of robberies rose from 164 to 340. The number of recorded gun crimes rose from 24 to 62, hate crimes rose from 422 to 553 and violence rose from 1,203 to 1,578.

According to the latest data from Transport for London (TfL), reported crime has risen by 30 per cent across all transport services overall this year.

Sarah Olney, the Lib Dem MP for Richmond Park, told the Standard: “Londoners should feel safe on their public transport, but these shocking figures tell a different story.”

The New York subway has a poor reputation among passengers when it comes to safety. New Yorkers complain that they feel threatened by homeless and mentally ill people on public transit.

That population surged during the pandemic as New Yorkers with homes avoided the subway and those without housing sought refuge outside the confines of shelters.

The overall crime rate in the subway skyrocketed in April 2020 as COVID-19 gripped New York, but city statistics show the daily rate fell back to pre-pandemic levels by mid-2021.

A New York City police officer who keeps watch on the subway and has a poor reputation for safety among passengers

A New York City police officer who keeps watch on the subway and has a poor reputation for safety among passengers

The death of 30-year-old Michael Jackson impersonator Jordan Neely on May 1 renewed the debate about subway crime. Mr Neely was in the midst of a breakdown when he crossed paths with 25-year-old Daniel Penny.

A video showed Penny grabbing him from behind, wrestling him to the ground and holding him for six minutes until he passed out.

He was later charged with second-degree manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, but received significant support from some Republican activists who consider him a “hero” for intervening to “protect” other passengers.