LONDON (AP) — President Donald Trump has misinterpreted British crime statistics and wrongly blamed terrorism as the driving factor behind higher numbers. Terror attacks in Manchester and London that killed 35 people only account for 1/100th of a percent of the total number of crimes recorded in the report, and homicides are actually down 2 percent.
TRUMP tweet Friday: “Just out report: ‘United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.’ Not good, we must keep America safe!”
THE FACTS: The 13 percent increase cited by Trump refers to crime in England and Wales, not the entire U.K., which also includes Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Figures released Thursday show that police forces in England and Wales registered 5.2 million criminal offenses in the 12 months through June — a 13 percent increase over the previous year.
The London and Manchester terrorist attacks resulted in 35 homicides and 294 attempted murder offences, said the Office for National Statistics. But those 329 cases account for less than 1/100th of a percent of the total number of crimes recorded in the report.
“The point is that even unprecedented levels of terrorism-related activity in the U.K. have only a marginal impact on the overall crime figures Trump is referring to,” said Rajan Basra, a research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London who has studied the nexus between crime and terror. “The 13 percent increase is neither caused nor explained by terrorism, and it’s misleading to suggest so.”
The biggest jumps in crime reports came in vehicle thefts (17 percent) and shoplifting (11 percent), according to the statistics office. Significant increases were also reported in thefts from individuals, burglary and robbery.
The number of homicides actually dropped 2 percent to 664, even with the terror-related killings in London and Manchester. However, terrorism did contribute to a 59 percent increase in attempted murder cases, according to the office. A large number of those were people injured in the Manchester and London attacks.
In a separate report released in September, Britain’s Home Office said there were 379 arrests for terrorism-related offences in the year ending June 2017 — an increase of 68 percent. That compares with the 226 arrests in the previous year.
It was the highest number or arrests since authorities began collecting data in 2001.
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