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Knife crime - how the hell do you stop it?

Violent crime is one of those issues which rarely goes away. Whether there is more or less of it is a matter of dispute, but no one doubts just how serious a problem it is. Indeed, over the weekend, the latest teenager to be stabbed to death with a knife was named - that was 16-year-old Andrew Holland, from Greater Manchester. Another pointless death, another wasted life.

Our politicians haven't completely disappeared for the summer. John Denham told the Beeb recently. He said; "The knife crime we have seen recently and some of the drunken behaviour - we are not where we need to be on those issues... where there are underlying problems, like the acceptance of gang culture among young people, knife carrying or too-readily-available alcohol to young people, we have got to carry on until we have beaten the problem. We have very powerful new legislation in place for the police to use to tackle these problems."
Click here for the story.

I am not going to get into an anti-government diatribe here - this is too serious to be playing politics. David Davis may be right when he says the government must take a lead in dealing with it, but that leads to this question - how on earth do you do it? How on earth do you tackle a culture where it's deemed acceptable, if not cool, to carry a weapon around with you? Is it just factors such as cheap alcohol that need to be dealt with, or are there underlying social factors at work here?

Over to you, guys. I'll post a more detailed reply later on today.
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well when you run your politics on fear, don't be surprised if people feel the need to protect themselves. And as with guns, if a weapon is to hand in a volatile argument, don't be surprised if someone chooses to use it in the heat of the moment.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What a neat little bundle of social stigmas that story is: Drunken knife-wielding feral teens. I was half expecting it to detail some swan-eating immigrants - you know, for good measure.

    I'm interested to see how this story about ridiculously cheap alcohol being available to vast swathes of under-age teens evolves. It popped up on Radio 4 the other day as well. They were having a debate about raising the age of purchasing alcohol to 21 to cut down on yobbish behaviour - a fallacious argument if ever I've heard one. I fully expect the meddling, beady eye of the government to switch from cigarettes to alcohol very soon - after it's laid down the vilification groundwork, naturally.

    Presumably the reasons for people carrying knives are largely two-fold; people carry knives as an offensive weapon, and then in response to that, people carry knifes as a defensive weapon. Unfortunately for the government I suspect there are a myriad of causal factors behind why people carry knives, and a clumsy attack on alcohol and "feral" teens won't cut it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    We button up our coats the way we do because it allowed us easy reach to our swords. And the chamber of the house of commons is arranged so that the front benches are just out of sword reach of each other.

    Knife crime isn't new...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The rot goes a lot deeper than Britian's booze culture. A lot of the kids affected by this are defranchised from society (and the gap between rich and poor is still widening), with very little hope for the future, lacking in any care or respect for others and desensitised to violence. Slapping on an ASBO or raising the drinking age to 21 - would it really make much difference?

    Someone once said to me the most effective method of contraception for teens is ambition, and I agree with this. People who have been pushed to the periphery of society and who live in poverty need real investments into their futures and a real chance of being able to improve themselves and see beyond where they are going now. But this requires years of investment and thought, and certainly wouldn't happen overnight.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    go_away wrote: »
    The rot goes a lot deeper than Britian's booze culture. A lot of the kids affected by this are defranchised from society (and the gap between rich and poor is still widening), with very little hope for the future, lacking in any care or respect for others and desensitised to violence. Slapping on an ASBO or raising the drinking age to 21 - would it really make much difference?

    Someone once said to me the most effective method of contraception for teens is ambition, and I agree with this. People who have been pushed to the periphery of society and who live in poverty need real investments into their futures and a real chance of being able to improve themselves and see beyond where they are going now. But this requires years of investment and thought, and certainly wouldn't happen overnight.

    Strongly agree. It made me laugh when the argument for raising the drinking age to 21 was: 'We'd have less teenage drunks on our streets'. How about we raise the drinking age to 65 and cut out the large majority drunkards on the street, of any age?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Adults routinely get drunk and fight, so I dont see how kids arent going to pick up on that message.

    Not whole-heartedly criminalising teenagers might be a good idea too, all the 'solutions' put down by government are repressive and reactionary, there isnt any idea that these sorts of things could be prevented, just harshly punished after the fact.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't know how they can stop Knife Crime but it has become more popular.

    My friend got stabbed the other day and I can name at least four other people I know off the top of my head who have been stabbed/ threatened with knives this year !
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Knife Crime but it has become more popular.

    :yes: its an image thing mostly more so than carrying a knife for protection
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you treat kids as feral animals with no morals, and you spent all your time denying them access to anything, then it's not really a surprise when kids decide that they couldn't give two fucks about society and start acting like feral animals.

    Gangland crime isn't new, it's just that people forget that its always been around. Or when they do remember, they look back with ridiculous rose glasses; the Krays loved their mum, so the gangland murder they indluged in was all fine and dandy.

    That said, the biggest problems with knife crime these days seems to be in cities with large immigrant populations, and it seems to be young men from the Pakistani and black British communities that are causing most of the problems. I don't think that is just about disenfranchisement.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    they should have tripods from war of the worlds that have xrays and anyone caught with a knife is snatched and taken away.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Okay, here's the reply that I promised yesterday.

    I suspect that making booze more expensive, or restricting the sale of it, will not work. Just look at drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy - these are illegal, yet if you know the right people, easily obtained. If kids are determined enough to get hold of alcohol, they will manage it. There is definitely an issue with teenagers going out at weekends and getting pissed - I suspect that has always been the case. Here though, I think it's more of a side issue. Whilst needing addressing, this is not the miracle cure.

    I have the feeling that there are social factors behind this - a kind of social malaise. Most of the shootings and stabbings that take place tend to be in the poorer areas of cities such as London, Manchester and Nottingham, to name but three. I believe that has something to do with it. Governments must make more effort to reduce the gap between rich and poor - how to do this is more difficult to decide. I would say lower taxation for the poor is one possible suggestion. I think that the poorest in society should be exempt from income tax altogether. I realise that, however, can only go so far. This is about far more than money.

    It's fair to say that education is a big point here. When we hear about these kids, we tend to find out that they dropped out of school, or barely attended, that they left without qualifications and so on. These are most likely people who realise they have next to no prospects for the future, and so would make more money by going into selling and dealing drugs. (for they are connected, to an extent, with gun and knife crime) Giving them ASBOs or prison sentences is very unlikely to make them change their ways. Kids need to be educated properly - it's too late to leave it until they've already become disillusioned.

    On the point about immigration, my views on this topic are well-documented. I believe that Britain takes in too many immigrants at the moment, but we can discuss that elsewhere. Kermit notes that most of the crime is happening in "cities with large immigrant populations, and it seems to be young men from the Pakistani and black British communities that are causing most of the problems". Agreed. I definitely wouldn't contest that immigrants are bringing crime into the country - more likely that these already poor communities realise there is little hope for the future, so some members go into crime as they have nothing to lose. I don't condone it, but I can understand why it happens.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    That said, the biggest problems with knife crime these days seems to be in cities with large immigrant populations, and it seems to be young men from the Pakistani and black British communities that are causing most of the problems. I don't think that is just about disenfranchisement.

    More so than white people in similar situations and income levels? I can't say I've looked at any stats or anything.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    More so than white people in similar situations and income levels? I can't say I've looked at any stats or anything.

    I don't think you can find any.

    However, when you see these reports in the news it's usually some 14-16 year old black kid from London, depressing really.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Most of the kid I confiscate booze off are under 18 anyway, so raising the age won't make a difference, although i'm fairly happy with the challenge 21 rule as that has made things for retailers easier.

    The 18 year olds on my patch know the penalties if caught supplying booze to the younger ones, so on the whole they bugger off to the pub or stay at home.

    Knife carrying has nothing to do with alcohol, people carry knives as a status symbol or as a tool to be used. People will carry it about because they want something shiny to show their mates, or they carry them because they require a knife during the course of their day, ie when they're robbing people. Knife crime is nothing new.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yerascrote wrote: »
    However, when you see these reports in the news it's usually some 14-16 year old black kid from London, depressing really.

    Because if you are poor and from the nastier parts of London or other cities you are more likely to be black/ethnic minority. Its the same in the US, black people make up nearly half of all murder victims, but no where near that percentage of the population.

    And certainly there are cultural things here, and of course kids coming from places like the Sudan or Siera Leion (sp?) may well not be the best adjusted kids ever.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    Most of the kid I confiscate booze off are under 18 anyway, so raising the age won't make a difference.

    Erm, this may seem like a really stupid question, but aren't all the kids you confiscate booze off under 18? Otherwise, why would you be confiscating it?

    I agree with your point though. America doesn't exactly have it's boozing under control despite the age of 21. If anything, I feel it encourages immature attitudes towards drinking. But interestingly over there, they are reportedly far stricter when it comes to ID, yet have similar problems as the UK.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    More so than white people in similar situations and income levels? I can't say I've looked at any stats or anything.

    I think so; the poor white people in Bradford don't seem to be tooled up to the same extent as the poor from the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities.

    I don't think the problems are along racial lines at all, but there does seem to be a tendency towards violence in many immigrant communities. Look at the homophobia in the black British communities, for instance.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't think this is a race issue, or a new thing. A lot of the kids at my college carried knives, including one girl who kept one in her sock. I carried a flick knife for a while. I don't any more (but I also don't live in shit areas or work late nights anymore so don't feel as threatened).

    Every single person I know who carried a knife, did so because they were scared and to protect themselves in potential situations. Silly really, because a knife can be used against yourself and a mugger/rapist is likely to have their own weapon in any case.

    I think we need to make "the streets" a safer place to be instead of people being cooped up inside cars and houses. My sister was mugged recently, and her boyfriend was beaten up at a bus stop by a racist earlier this year. On all the occasions, no-one did anything. The streets are usually empty, I think in the past more people walked and went out to do things rather than watch TV/go on internet, so the streets and neighbourhoods were busier, there were more people around.

    I don't know how to "solve" it though.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    Most of the kid I confiscate booze off are under 18 .

    why would you confiscate alcohol from an 18+ year old?
    unless they were D&D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That particular case was in Farnworth, just next door to where I live. There is a definite culture in the town of people getting drunk and fighting every weekend - drive through the centre at kicking out time and you are almost guaranteed to see people - often adults - fighting in the street. Hardly the best example for the younger generation.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i think we're fucked when it comes to knife culture and its only gonna get worse

    it is a very much a symbol of status etc but i think its just a complete change in culture for younger people nowdays also! 30 years ago you'd have got a good slap off the majority of older people if you were cheeky at all to them, now its the other way round..

    i think you're more likely to get stabbed these days, not only does it seem there are a lot more people carrying, theres also no such thing as a 'fair scrap' between people anymore and people using weapons/jumping on etc is normal

    plenty of people are also more inclined to carry a knife for personal safety due to this.. id admit ive carried a knife around my waist a few times either walking through dodgy spots with my girlfriend (i know i can run myself if i have to but i can rely on her to do it? obviously im gonna defend with all i can if it comes to it!) or through some really dodgy spots myself.. the obvious in this situation is to get taxis around but that isnt always possible

    my suggestion? invest in a kevlar jacket! :shocking:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    otter wrote: »
    why would you confiscate alcohol from an 18+ year old?
    unless they were D&D

    If you have a group of under 18's and one of the group or several are over and you have reasonable belief the over-18 is letting the kids drink their drink then we can confiscate theirs as well. Also if they are drunk or if they are in a prohibited drinking area.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Posts: 16,688 Skive's The Limit
    Speaking about drinking age, I think lowering it (or removing it altogether) will do the British society more good, at least in the long run, than raising it. The problem isn't that young people drink, the problem is that people (young and not-so-young) think it's "cool" to drink and get drunk. If the teenagers aren't allowed to, even supposing they never do so illegally, they'll drink a lot once it's legal for them. And the rest will do it when it's illegal because it's "cool".
  • SkiveSkive Posts: 15,283 Skive's The Limit
    Something has to be done. Knives scare the scare the living shit out of me. Only a couple of weeks ago a spent a few days in hospital after being stabbed 6 times. I've been getting in rucks for years without ever coming across a knife.

    I think the media makes it worse. Now every kid thinks every other kids got a knife and so get one themselves because they feel they have to defend themselves.
    Weekender Offender 
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Skive wrote: »
    I think the media makes it worse. Now every kid thinks every other kids got a knife and so get one themselves because they feel they have to defend themselves.

    I think that's probably true- everyone else is using knives, so you're not man enough if you don't. And then you get the people who walk around tooled up for "protection", which is daft given that you're probably more likely to get stabbed if you're tooled up.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    sorry to hear that skive, hope they caught the bastard.....gone are the days when a ruck meant learning how to use your fists, i'm not the type to get into any sort of trouble really and i've been fairly lucky in london so far when living in the dodgier areas and walking around at night, sometimes thought about carrying some kind of protection but it's just not worth it, esp if i'm on my own i can just leg it and have done so on occasion lol....
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqyU2z-FJr8


    I don't know whether to laugh or worry!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    lipsy wrote: »
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqyU2z-FJr8


    I don't know whether to laugh or worry!

    :lol: :rolleyes:

    Definately has something to do with gangsta culture, and rap plays a big role in this imo. When I was hanging about street corners it was just to get pissed and stoned and have a bit of craic, not cos I was defending my community with my homies. Fucking children!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    lipsy wrote: »
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqyU2z-FJr8

    I don't know whether to laugh or worry!

    If they all got hit by a bus the world would be a better place.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If they all got hit by a bus the world would be a better place.

    :rolleyes:
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