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There’s no question that knife crime is on the rise all across the UK and in particular, London. With major police cuts and underfunding, systems and charities set up to protect those are vulnerable could have caused this ongoing rise of brutality.
Incidents containing knife crime has reached an all-time high and is showing no signs of stopping, so the question that people are asking is, how is the country planning on tackling this problem? Is there a way to find out the root of the issue and stop it leading to a life of knife crime?
Knife crime being on the ever-increasing rise has caused more and more families to have to deal with their loved ones being taken from them. The devastating statistics that show there were 43,516 knife crime offences over just the period of a year from March 2018 to March 2019 show how big of a problem the UK is facing when it comes to this type of crime in the country. During this time frame, it was reported that the majority of these crimes were a result of assault and robbery. It was found that 21,700 counts of assault with robbery following just behind with 20,172 incidents. Thankfully, the amount of cases involving homicide is a lot lower than these two stats, however, still two out of five homicides involved a knife. These are some very hard facing statistics to be reading, it’s easy to start question the next person you pass on the street and question whether they're carrying a weapon. In general, knife crime tends to stay in its own bubble - if you’re not involved in crime, you’re unlikely to see crime. So instead you can learn how to help those who are involved, possibly by volunteering or helping to support charities which have been set up to help victims of violence and knife crime.
Photo credit: BBC
Back in March this year two young people, Jodie Chesney and Yousef Ghaleb Makki, were killed over a weekend in London as a result of knife crime. These cases drew huge media attention to the rising issue of knife crime in London. The attention was quickly pointed at then Prime Minister Theresa May who cut the police force by 20,000 officers. At the time the PM stated that there was “no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers”, but since then it has become hard to believe that more young people are falling to the trap of groomers who then end up in gangs and carrying knives. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London has recently just invested £1.4 million to organisations fighting knife crime. The investment will reach 25,000 young people aged between 10-21 in London by reaching out to them via mentoring, counselling, education and charity groups. Speaking to The Independent paper the Mayor expressed, “it’s vital we invest in our communities because they are in the best position to intervene at a critical moment in a young person’s life”. Stepping in to tackle the youth of this generation might be the answer to cutting a large portion of knife crime in general.
However, in typical government style, they have received major backlash for their latest campaign which involved dispatching cardboard boxes in select chicken shops around the country. The boxes which feature #knifefree on the lid and have emotional stories written on the inside from those who have suffered the consequences of carrying knives and from those who have left behind a life of crime. Although, after the campaign was launched to the press many began to speculate the reasoning behind their idea insinuating that the campaign was targeting the black community, playing on the stereotype that young black people hang out at chicken shops. ‘Word On The Curb’, a duo from London who grew up in and around violence have taken to the streets to get young peoples ideas on how to tackle knife crime by using these #knifefree boxes. They have taken these boxes and have asked young people from all backgrounds to stop and write a potential way the government could tackle knife crime. Even though 70% of customers in a chicken shop are aged between 16-24 this campaign clearly backfired and the government needs to revaluate how they can target the youth of today in a better way. 'Word On The Curb' have said that they will be taking the ideas back to the Home Office to present the decision-makers a variety of better ways to target young people without being discriminative.
Photo credit: Home Office
Nevertheless, knife crime is something which has gone up by 80% since 2014 so the increasing problem is undeniable. Is there a way of targeting the issue before it’s even become one? The rise in numbers of children expelled or suspended from schools has also been increasing since 2013. Causing some to speculate that schools should do more to keep their students inside the school gates, for fear of making a child slip into a life of crime easier. Earlier this June it was announced that the Home Office was planning on introducing lessons warning pupils about knife crime before the summer holidays to discourage any criminal activity during the school break. Students discussed the effects of carrying knives by looking into real-life case studies during the hour-long lessons. Targeting pupils aged between 11 and 16 the lessons created by the Home Office were drafted to debunk the myths behind knives. Although Ofsted hit back and claimed that the blame of increasing knife crime cannot all be dumped on schools but instead it was to do with how much free time most teenagers have on their hands.
Still, how can we tackle knife crime when there is so much violence on the streets in general today, we all need to put our heads together and fight for what’s truly important rather than fighting each other.