Knife crime in London has reached a new high and many are gang-related. With 285 homicides by a knife or sharp object in the twelve months ending March 2018, this is the highest since the records started in 1946.
According to the Office for National Statistics, one in 4 of all the knife crime victims were men within the age of 18 to 24, and 25% of the victims were black. Furthermore, the majority of the suspects involved in this knife crime were within the age of 16 to 24.
The impact of this knife crime on young people cannot be overlooked. As expected most of these young people are scared that they might be the next victim of this Knife epidemic, and most are now ‘carrying’ to protect themselves, even though it is illegal and could cause them to end up in jail if they are caught in possession of a knife. However, they continue to carry as they believe “it’s killed or be killed”.
The increase in the rate of knife crime cannot be narrowed down to one specific reason, albeit most believe it’s due to the decreasing number of police presence, the influence of drill music, and some even link the knife crime to race, as it is predominantly a problem of young black teenagers attacking each other.
However, the social indicators of violent knife crime among the young people have remained consistent for many years, these indicators include exposure to domestic violence, masculinity, relative poverty, expulsion from school and lack of education, to mention a few.
Although many policies have been put in place to curb the Knife related crime, like the stop and search and tougher prison sentences among others, these measures are not effective enough to reduce the crime rate.
The community has a major role to play to help reduce the violence crime among young people, and while violence is inevitable, it is preventable, but, to do this effectively we have to get to the root cause of this problem to be able to tackle this problem.
Now, the majority of the young people in jail for violence, regardless of ethnicity, were at some point in care growing up, and most of them were expelled from school.
An effective way to curb knife crime is to get to these teens early and offer them an alternative path away from gang membership and crime. Measures like after school activities, youth clubs, Job training programmes, employment workshops and having them engage in activities they enjoy, can go a long way to reducing the violent crime. These young people have in them the potential to do great things, they just need guidance and mentorship.
With technology fast evolving, looking for activities to engage in is as simple as typing “youth Apprenticeship programmes near me” on google and you will be provided with different options. Mentoring teens to learn basic employment skills, and setting up workshops like Digital marketing traineeship, paid work experience, Sales and marketing training are effective ways to keep these young people busy and away from knife crime and violence in general.