One hundred and nineteen people have been killed in London so far this year as a result of violent crime.

Allow me to repeat the figure and let it sink in - one hundred and nineteen people, many of them murdered on the streets, some in broad daylight in populated areas with scores of people around.

Frankly, even more shocking figures from the Metropolitan Police show that more than 69,000 children aged between 10 and 15 were involved in stabbings in London in the year to June 2018. Meanwhile, many of those killed this year have also been teenagers.

While the incidents are not all gang-related, there’s a worrying trend across UK cities, but particularly in London, that knife and gun crime is entering crisis point, especially among young people.

Earlier this year, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan warned that recreational cocaine use by the middle classes was fuelling violent crime on the streets. Now, government ministers want to expand controversial stop and search powers by scrapping the requirement that police need reasonable grounds to search someone they believe has been involved in a crime.

In theory it sounds acceptable, expected even, that officers should have the power to detain and search a person they believe to be dangerous.

However, stop and search is very different in practice, particularly when you consider that black people are more likely to be a target for its use than white people, by a police force that remains disproportionately white.

In fact, a recent study found that black people were stopped and searched at more than eight times the rate of white people in 2016/17. And the problem of racial disparity is widespread across England and Wales with all 43 police forces found to use stop and search to target black people at a higher rate than white people.

Fuelling the controversy is the fact that there is little evidence to suggest that stop and search lowers violent crime. What is certain, however, is that it damages trust in the police by those who already feel marginalised, leaving them even more vulnerable to be targeted by criminal gangs.

I lived in a young, lively area of Hackney, east London before leaving for a quieter life in Kent. Several of the murders this year have taken place in the borough; in fact three people were killed a short walk from my old house. Taking a casual walk in my old neighbourhood, you’d never guess it had become the scene for several violent incidents.

It was a buzzing neighbourhood made up of families and professionals, schools and parks, high street shops, independent boutiques and a whole host of restaurants, cafes and bars. I certainly never felt that I could be the victim of a knife attack whilst living there. I always felt safe on the streets.

For me, the great thing about London and the reason it remains so fresh and vibrant is that it is indeed a melting pot. People of all ethnicities and social classes, living side by side. And yet, it’s still too easy for many to brush off the rise in violence and killings as a social problem that doesn’t affect them.

I don’t claim to know the reasons why; perhaps there’s a sense that it’s all part of city living, or that Londoners (and by that I mean anyone who lives there) just get up and get on with life. The terrorist attacks in Borough Market and Westminster are testament to this unflinching attitude.

In truth, however, I imagine the fact that most of the victims are black, come from deprived areas and have – at the very least – a minor connection to drugs, has something to do with it.

Neither violence nor crime had any bearing on my family’s decision to leave London two years ago.

Like me, most Londoners don’t expect to be caught up in this kind of violence, even when it’s is happening on their doorstep. I just wonder how many more lives will be taken before people start to notice?