BBC: Is knife crime really getting worse?


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mrreynolds
July 14, 2008, 11:42 PM
By Megan Lane & Brian Wheeler
BBC News Online Magazine

Concern about violent crime in Britain has swung back to knives and their availability to children. But has so-called "knife culture" risen while the media's attention has been so fixed on gun crime?

It's a shopping list likely to send a chill down the spine: kitchen knives, axes, razor sharp "cat skinners" and Ninja-style throwing knives.

Yet these and other potentially lethal weapons can be easily bought by children, according to a new national survey.

Almost half of shops tested broke the law by selling knives to children under 16, according to the Trading Standards Institute. And internet traders are even more of a push over because of the anonymity involved in buying something online.

Former Home Secretary Michael Howard Michael Howard, launching an anti-knife campaign in 1996 Sceptics, however, might comment that it has always been thus. There's nothing new about youngsters seeking to boost their street cred by carrying a blade.

It used to be the lore of the playground that flick knives - illegal in the UK - could be effortlessly picked up across the Channel (and so retained a status as the ultimate souvenir from a French exchange trip).

So are we really witnessing a rise in so-called "knife culture" or is the recent coverage afforded to the issue in newspapers just a spot of media hysteria?

Evidence shows knife seizures are on the increase. The number of people convicted of carrying a blade in public rose from 2,559 in 1995 to 3,570 in 2000, according to the Home Office.

Reports from hospital A&E departments indicate a rise in stab wounds, particularly among young men aged between 14 and 25.

Daily routine

One expert with street-level experience is convinced more young people are arming themselves with knives these days.

Everybody goes to the market and buys kitchen knives - they say they want to use them in the kitchen, but they don't Youth club member, John "We are seeing more and more stab wounds - even five years ago, these were pretty rare. Young males in particular are carrying knives on a daily basis, and if they carry them, they use them," says John Heyworth, of the British Association for Accident and Emergency Medicine.

Those young men are often of school age, according to a survey by the Youth Justice Board this year. It found that of the crimes committed by young people, carrying a knife was the most common offence among children excluded from school (62%).

Undoubtedly, the problem is a predominantly urban one. Julie Jacobs, of the Streatham Youth Centre in south London, says some young people begin to carry knives from about the age of 11, when they first begin to venture out of their home patch.

Cyclone knife A 'cyclone knife', bought online "There is a sense that they need some sort of protection. It is a turf thing, a territory thing, but I don't think it is getting any worse."

So have youngsters themselves seen a rise in knife brandishing?

John, a 17-year-old at the Charter House Youth Club, in Southwark, London, believes the problem is "getting worse" although he does not know anyone who carries a knife.

He was once been threatened by three boys with kitchen knives, while on a bus.

"They were trying to jack me. They wanted my mobile phone and my money. There is nothing that can be done about people getting hold of knives. Everybody goes to the market and buys kitchen knives. They say they want to use them in the kitchen, but they don't."

Suspended from school

One 14-year-old from Peckham thinks there's a lot of bluster from kids trying to appear harder than they are.

Comb concealing a blade Hidden in a comb - concealed blades are easily available "I know people who brag about carrying knives. They say they have a great big butcher's knife. People say silly things."

He says a boy at his school was suspended after a knife was found in his bag. But generally, he says, the situation is getting better at his school.

"Maybe one day out of seven someone will say 'give me you money' or something, but I never have been threatened with a knife."

Of those that do brandish a blade, many justify it as in the interests of "self defence", says Unun Seshmi, who runs a charity called Boyhood to Manhood which is dedicated to steering young black people away from crime.

"They are walking around in fear of being stabbed. They feel there is nobody there to protect them. They don't want to go to the police. But they don't want to use the knife either."

ARTICLE (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3244709.stm)

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Cosmoline
July 14, 2008, 11:45 PM
Ninja-style throwing knives.

LOL I used to play with these and throwing stars in the 80's. I don't remember being deemed a public menace. I believe I still have a scar or two from those salad days.

CZ.22
July 15, 2008, 12:10 AM
I did hear something fairly sensible on the BBC- that kids caught would be taken to emergency wards and shown stab victims, and would talk to victim's families, and to people in prison.

This explains the need for parenting. I got a pocket knife, a good one, a slipjoint, at age eight. I was raised with knives being tools, not weapons. And I'm also not stupid, I don't go around trying to look tough, or anything, and I carry smartly. I didn't carry my Vex on Halloween, for instance, when we did a little TPing.

ArfinGreebly
July 15, 2008, 12:25 AM
This explains the need for parenting.
Yeah.

Parenting is for professionals.

Today's warning from "the system" . . . Parenting: it's dangerous stuff, folks, don't try it at home.

hso
July 15, 2008, 12:22 PM
Evidence shows knife seizures are on the increase. The number of people convicted of carrying a blade in public rose from 2,559 in 1995 to 3,570 in 2000, according to the Home Office.

Reports from hospital A&E departments indicate a rise in stab wounds, particularly among young men aged between 14 and 25.

Why don't they provide the statistic on the rise in knife wounds if they know there's a rise? Simply because they can show seizures are up doesn't mean that knife attacks are up. Where are the numbers to support the contention that knife wounds are on the rise?

wheelgunslinger
July 15, 2008, 12:26 PM
good point.
Also, how has the population grown in that time and how do those figures represent the pop by percentage.
perhaps the percentage per capita relative to blade seizures has decreased?

Deer Hunter
July 15, 2008, 12:30 PM
Don't they know that "ninjas" used needle shurikens, not little semi-sharp circles?

Souris
July 15, 2008, 01:25 PM
"Maybe one day out of seven someone will say 'give me you money' or something, but I never have been threatened with a knife."

What amazes( and scares) me even more than the "Knife Violence" is the fact that the kids school is "getting better" and he supposedly gets accosted for money ~once a week. He also seems to see that there is nothing wrong with that since there is no knife involved.
(Rhetorical question)
What type of country is it when a 14 year old boy considers strongarm robbery a normal thing?

Pilot
July 15, 2008, 01:27 PM
They're probably going to ban Ninjas next. :rolleyes:

conw
July 16, 2008, 04:39 PM
The article was pretty incoherent. But I do think that knife seizures can go up with a media hype blitz in effect, without necessarily increasing crimes. Likewise, there could be some x factor affecting emergency room visits without a change in knife crime committed.

I don't know...one day in seven sounds pretty bad to me though.

shecky
July 17, 2008, 04:59 AM
Knife Crime 'not increasing' (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/may/13/ukcrime.boris)?

Matt_W
July 17, 2008, 09:40 AM
It is getting worse, but the police's way of recording and accounting for crime has gotten better-better at fudging the issue if you ask me.

Cosmoline
July 21, 2008, 03:18 PM
We told them this would happen after the big handgun ban. And it's going beyond mere knife fights. With a helpless public, the criminals are having their way. The latest trend in old Blighty is kidnapping people and torturing them with knives until they reveal PIN numbers and other information. Here are a few recent examples:

A pensioner was tortured by her attacker for her pin number in the moments before she was murdered in her cottage, police have revealed.

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Sky-News-Archive/Article/20082851308761

It is understood that credit and charge cards are missing from the rented flat in New Cross, South-East London, where Mr Bonomo and Mr Ferez were gagged, tied to chairs, stabbed 243 times in the head, chest and back and finally set on fire.

They may have been tortured for hours to make them give up their PIN numbers.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1031350/Man-arrested-French-student-murder-pair-tortured-killed-PIN-numbers.html

Nothing to see here, folks, move along!

This lucky one survived it:

They took small change, house keys, a mobile phone and a bank card and demanded his PIN number.

The victim was stabbed as he shouted to passers-by for help. He is being treated at Bristol Royal Infirmary where his condition is stable.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/bristol/somerset/6923609.stm

I hate to say it because I love the UK, but between the ubiquitous CCTV, the draconian rules and the tendency of people to shiv each other and act like degenerate thugs, the whole island is starting to resemble a prison. Quite literally.

wheelgunslinger
July 21, 2008, 03:26 PM
I feel very bad for the English, but really, they're serving as a great example, as morbid as that may be.
And no, I take no pleasure in pointing that out. I'm not a brit-basher at all.

In fact, I'd love to go live in the U.K. were it not for the disarmament.

--night
July 23, 2008, 04:58 AM
Same here, I'd love to visit the UK and Scandinavia. The castles and history European culture in general has fascinated me for many years and I have studied it extensively. I absolutely refuse to be treated like another sheep while boarding commercial aircraft. Any place that and individual cannot purchase a machine pistol with cash and openly carry it is not free.

hso
July 23, 2008, 11:33 AM
Thanks, shecky.

Incidents such as these have fuelled the public perception that knife crime is out of control,
yet this is not borne out by the statistics.
According to the British Crime Survey, knife-enabled crime (any crime involving a knife)
over the past decade has remained stable at around 6-7% of all crime, comprising 30% of all
homicides.
In fact, the most recent crime survey by the Metropolitan police showed that knife crime
has actually dropped by 15.7% over the past two years, from 12,122 to 10,220 incidents.

Matt_W
July 26, 2008, 12:41 PM
I read somewhere that the British Crime Survey actually discounted about 10 million crimes due to it's accountancy rules.

Limeyfellow
July 26, 2008, 02:23 PM
Knife violence is nothing compared to how it was in the 50s, 60s, 70s and even the 80s in Britain. They just better at recording it now. We don't really see the brawls anymore between a few hundred with straight razors, knifes, bats and chains anymore. If anything nowadays they are kind of pussies.

Of course with all things violence and crime increases with poverty and lack of opportunity.

Smokey Joe
July 26, 2008, 09:26 PM
Razor sharp or not, wotinell is a "cat skinner"???????

Beagle-zebub
July 26, 2008, 10:06 PM
Articles like this are what give the necessary glamor to the hijinx of would-be knife-knaves.

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