Donald Trump has stoked a wave of anger and mockery after appearing to suggest that “radical Islamic terror” was responsible for a 13 per cent rise in crime in the UK.
In a tweet that could be an attempt to win support for his controversial ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries, the president wrote on Friday morning: “United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.”
Trump is referring to a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published yesterday, which mapped violent crime in England and Wales (not the entire UK) and did indeed find a 13 per cent rise in crime.
But his latest claim was met with widespread scepticism as well as accusations he was manipulating statistics to stoke fear for his own political ends.
However, the quote in his tweet doesn’t appear in the ONS report, and his claim that official statistics show Islamic terrorism is responsible for a 13 per cent rise in UK crime is demonstrably false and, for the President of the United States, inexcusable.
Of the 5.2 million offences covered in the report, only 329 are terrorism-related or 0.00006 per cent.
Figures completely ignored by Trump include:
a 21 per cent rise in domestic burglary
a 19 per cent rise in the number of sexual offences recorded
an 18 per cent rise in the number of domestic abuse cases recorded
a 43 per cent rise in public order offences
711 deaths or serious injuries caused by illegal driving (more than the total number of homicides)
There were 664 total homicides recorded in the latest year to June 2017 including 35 terror-related deaths, compared to 679 during the same period last year.
The figures for 2016 include the 96 deaths at the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which were reclassified last year when a long-awaited inquiry verdict ruled those killed were unlawfully killed.
Taking out these but retaining the 35 killed in the Manchester and London terror attacks actually means homicides rose by 14 per cent.
However, the volume rise in homicides on this basis (81) is small in the context of a rise of over 500,000 crimes in the last year.
Taking out both sets of figures, shows homicide rates would have gone up anyway (by 8 per cent).
The section on attempted homicides is far more clear cut however.
The report states:
There was a substantial increase of 59% (426 offences) in the number of attempted murder offences in the latest year. This rise is due largely to the London and Manchester terror attacks, where the police recorded 294 (69% of the rise in) attempted murder offences.
Overall, despite the slight spike in recorded crimes, crime overall has fallen significantly since a peak in 1995.
In contrast, violent crime in the US has increased for two years in succession - not to mention the huge number of people killed by firearms as many were quick to point out.
Whilst crime it remains below the endemic levels seen in the 80s and 90s, Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month warned that the US was vulnerable to a return of such violence.
He said: “For the sake of all Americans, we must confront and turn back the rising tide of violent crime.”
In response to Trump’s tweets, senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper MP said: “Hate crime in the UK has gone up by almost 30% and rubbish like this tweet from Donald Trump is designed to provoke even more of it.
“It is appalling that we have reached the point where inflammatory and ignorant statements from the President of the United States are now seen as normal. If we are to properly tackle hate crime and every other crime, we have to challenge this kind of nonsense.”