Knife crime is not something restricted to TV, films or violent inner city neighbourhoods in America. In fact, knife crime statistics are a much closer reality. For example, 2018 was London’s bloodiest year in almost a decade with the murder toll from knife crime claiming 134 lives. On 3rd July 2019, the Sun Online reported that in London so far this year, more than 30 knife-related deaths have been reported.
Knife crime violence is an epidemic not just affecting London but the whole country. There were 39,818 knife crime offences in England and Wales in the 12 months up to September 2018. The fact we see knife crime increasing indicates that something drastic must be done before even more lives are ruined. There are two red flags that jump out from the latest news reports and statistics:
- Knife crime and gangs
- Knife crime and race
Gang culture is a significant issue in the UK at present. In recent years, knife crime awareness and knife crime campaigns have gained momentum. However, the increase in knife crime highlights that more must be done, both in prevention and education, to solve these problems.
On 14th March 2019, the BBC News Website reported: “Figures show that young black men and minority ethnic teenage boys and men were disproportionately affected as both victims and perpetrators”. So not only is this demographic related to knife crime, but it is also largely gang-related. Much progress in limiting knife crime and creating awareness is linked to knife crime education as well as tackling the gang problem that currently exists.
The worrying truth about individuals who carry knives is that many do not intend to cause harm — they simply want them for personal protection. There has been some progress in addressing this issue, for example weapons checkpoints at schools and an extra police presence in areas with high knife crime. Metal detectors are also in place in problem areas and at venues and locations where knife crime is known to be prominent. However, until gang violence is tackled as a priority and new and stricter laws are in place, knife crime deaths will continue to rise as part of an increasing epidemic.