• neb posted an update 2 years, 3 months ago

    Knife crime. What is going on?

    Having had one of my cousins killed by a knife aged 25, I think I can say that I know the emotional impact on a family. The murderer got a small sentence and then deported. So justice was done.

    But what is going on today, and how can knife crime be controlled?

    • Part Police and social service (in the loose sense) funding cuts, part high youth unemployment, part extreme London inequality gradients driving crime and competition, part statistical blip, part sharpened media focus would be my guess.

      Sorry to hear about your cousin.

      • Nothing to do with thugs stabbing people then?

        • Take a step back, and consider a) why they are “thugs” in the first place b) why they’re carrying knives and c) why they’re happy to use them.

          • Thugs are thugs, low lifes with scant respect for humans and human life.

            They carry knives to hurt, intimidate and maim people.

            They are happy to use them as it carries little chance of punishment.

            ETA: “The gangs don’t necessarily follow racial groups, some can be very multicultural, but as a rule we’re finding the biggest threat to a young black male is indeed a young black male.”


            So if it is “police cuts”, “youth unemployment”, “lack of youth clubs”, “mummy didn’t hug me”, or any of the other bullshit excuses the middle class guilt brigade come up with, then surely young white men and women would be the predominant group.

            • You sound quite angry about this? do you think that these people are just born thugs then? In your opinion what turns them into thugs and why are there more thugs about now?

            • > So if it is “police cuts”, “youth unemployment”, “lack of youth clubs”, “mummy didn’t hug me”, or any of the other bullshit excuses the middle class guilt brigade come up with, then surely young white men and women would be the predominant group.

              I think that we have to acknowledge that, mostly in London, a particular ethnic group is mostly affected and/or involved in knife crime. This is not a racist statement, as in the majority of sexual assaults on young vulnerable teenage girls in Rotherham over many years, was also committed by a mostly particular ethnic group, is not a racist statement. And in Northern Ireland the majority of punishment beatings are carried out by a specific racial and ethnic group.

              I’m guessing that, in London, the violence is gang related, but I can’t provide any evidence to back this up. I’m also guessing that gang culture across the whole country is not race specific either. And I’m guessing that youths carrying knives is not a new phenomenon either. In fact I saw my first knife back in the early 70’s. At the time I lived in a poor area of Birmingham which was sandwiched between two large council estates. I think I was about five or six when a Big Boy in a leather jacket came up to me and showed me his kitchen knife. At the time I though why would somebody take a kitchen knife out, his mom would be annoyed. I then went about my day doing kids stuff like hide and seek. The point is, I did not realise the significance of what had just happened. I just carried on with my childhood stuff.

              But today, in London, something is different because the knife crime reported in the media appears to be racial and gender specific.


              Maybe one answer is simple. Money, more specifically the Drug Trade and the gangs that control the only lucrative game in town. Not everybody can be an investment banker.

              I read further down the thread by another contributor that the Drug Trade is estimated at £11Bn. Even if that’s an over exaggeration, how could the police even compete with this?

              It would be like bringing a single copper with their trusty truncheon to a well armed, financed and motivated organisation who laughs in their face.

            • I’m not more inclined to go out stabbing people because of the police cuts but i’m a middle aged guy with a decent income living in a almost completely crime free village so not really at risk of getting embroiled in knife crime. In communities where you have deprivation when you cut social services and police budgets it’s much easier for those at risk to head in that direction. I lived in Tottenham for a number of years and there was a stark change when in 2010 EMA grants were taken away and and youth services were slashed. Add police cuts to this and its a tinderbox If you lived in a middle class area around that time i doubt you would have noticed any difference.

          • My 2p worth:

            “a) why they are “thugs” in the first place”

            I think it’s as much to do with culture as deprivation. There are very few positive role models for young males, there is constant media bombardment that wealth and ‘power’ are the only measure of masculinity, gang culture is glamourised and celebrated and ‘reality’ TV constantly peddles the myth that being thick as pigshit and a complete twunt is something to aspire to.

            “b) why they’re carrying knives”

            It’s probably split between:

            1. Because they’re evil little shits;

            2. Because they’re scared of the evil little shits

            “c) why they’re happy to use them.”

            A huge level of narcissism and desperation to be ‘respected’ and total disregard for the victims, (evidenced by a willingness to chuck acid in someone’s face to nick a couple of hundred quids worth of scooter).

            There’s also the fact that these gangs are in control of many inner city areas, and decent people are terrified to speak out against them. They couldn’t care less about the law, and there’s a huge posse of useful idiots who will blame absolutely everything on everyone except the people doing the stabbing. Violent behavior has become normalized, just look at the outpourings of grief and “RIP brave soulja u is wiv da angles now innit” shrines when someone who terrorizes the entire community ends up dead.

            • > …They couldn’t care less about the law, and there’s a huge posse of useful idiots who will blame absolutely everything on everyone except the people doing the stabbing. Violent behaviour has become normalised,

              I’ll tackle that as one of your useful idiots.

              Understanding the cultural, social and environmental pressures that drive these behaviours allows us to tackle not just the behaviour but the underlying causes more effectively. There will always be more young people, some prone to violence, if you keep raising them the same way in the same environment you will get the same results.

              Problem is doing so requires acknowledging the existence and impact of external pressures while putting up with the sort of shit dailymail readers fling when one doesn’t join their ‘hang em and flog em’ chant. That’s true whether we’re discussing it here and one just has to put up with snide comments and sneering or whether you’re a politician facing an electorate who’ve spent the morning imbibing angry tabloid bile before they go to tick the box for someone ‘tough on crime’ with simplistic answers. Yeah, we could spend a fortune on a huge transient police crackdown, it’d no doubt please many and be effective for a while but if you want a lasting, comprehensive or even cost effective solution it’s not either or, it’s going to be a bit of both carrot and stick. Change the culture and the environment and police it effectively. A huge police crackdown without addressing the underlying drivers just creates a vacuum for the next lot to fill when funding is inevitably wound back down. Seeking to understand it doesn’t excuse the behaviour of violent thugs, they’re mostly not irrational so the behaviours can be changed or prevented from manifesting if we choose to.

        • They’ve always done that. When the rate they’re doing it at changes or appears to, particularly for the worse then what’s behind that change is of far more interest than the individual thugs.

          But yeah, I’m obviously seeking to absolve violent thugs of blame by seeking to understand what changes their behavior. Smartarse.

        • That doesn’t really address the “…how can it be controlled?” part of the question does it? Whereas all of jkarran’s points suggest ways.

    • You get what you pay for. Less spent on policing and social/community services and you get rising crime.

    • This is one of the direct consequences of Theresa May’s attack on police use of stop and search. I would never argue that the power was never abused but if officers are reticent to use the power for fear of political attack or allegations of discrimination, then the carrying of knives inevitably becomes more prevalent.

      • Yet New York has managed to keep driving down violent street crime AND the use of stop & search to levels way below the current norm in the UK so that’s clearly not the whole picture as much as I’d love to blame it all on the PM’s stint in the home office. Glasgow has managed better still within May’s constraint’s.

        • Im not saying it is the only factor but it certainly is a factor.

          • My point is that it’s far from clear it is a factor or at least there’s not a single simple cause and effect relationship, it varies with the activities surrounding the policy change. New York police aggressively drove down their use of stop & search while making use of the improved community relations that change fostered to target their activities better, to identify and remove the relatively few ringleaders that were leading the many astray. We’ve cut police search activity on the street then failed to capitalise on that by simultaneously cutting the resources needed to exploit the potential improvement in availability of intelligence.

    • According to David Lammy MP, the disaffected and disenfranchised youths are also being attracted / dragged into a vicious turf war for a part of the £11bn (£11bn !!!???!!!) cocaine market. Theres little other prospect of making money, little chance of being caught, and massive rewards if you make it up the food chain.

    • I wonder if there is a vicious circle going on roughly thus:

      1. People read online that the streets are not safe (when in fact they really aren’t that bad).

      2. Because of (1) they carry a knife to defend themselves.

      3. Some of these knives get used as weapons.

      4. More knife crime is reported.

      5. Go to step 1 with even more reports.

      How do we break that? I’m not sure it’s by stop and search, it’s by changing attitudes, but the big question is how. It’s not dissimilar to parental paranoia about paedophiles on every street corner.

    • UK media likes to focus on violent crime. UK media is mind bogglingly London-centric. While horrific at an individual level, is London’s level of knife crime really that statistically significant?

      How about these for stats. Blackpool deaths per 1000 population in 2016- 13.4

      Inner London deaths per 1000 population in 2016- 4.3

      Blackpool never seems to get in the news much but it has the country’s highest age standardized mortality rates (while the city of London has the country’s lowest). Everyone knows about knife crime in London but I can’t help thinking that if Northerners were a recognized ethnic minority these sort of stats and the underlying drug crisis causing them would actually be a cause for concern.

      • > (while the city of London has the country’s lowest).

        ..but the City of London is one square mile of high-rise offices, law firms and financial institutions. There is virtually nothing in the City of London apart from offices and some pubs for the city types.

        • Just comparing the country’s highest mortality rates with the lowest. Look at the figures for Blackpool and the whole of inner London and consider why it’s not news worthy that the people living in Blackpool are more than three times as likely to die in a given year.

          It’s also worth noting that those city of London figures are for per head of population so a direct comparison is still valid.

    • With all the cutbacks over the years agencies and organisations just don’t have the time or resources to do the jobs that they want to do. All these departments are stretched beyond breaking point and as such their final action is to pass the problem onto the Police and Ambulance Services. The Police and Ambulance services are now trying to do jobs that they are nowhere remotely qualified to deal with, but if the correct organisations can’t or won’t do their jobs for what ever reason that they have then the problem falls on to two organisations that have no option but to respond. What happens when a rubber band is stretched and pulled too far?

      • couldn’t agree more, it’s tragic.

        The thought of the ambulance paramedics who had to deal with a patient dying in the back of their vehicle while queuing just to try and get through the doors of an overflowing A&E is just heartbreaking

    • There has been a lot of press lately suggesting that the London murder rate is higher than New York, it isn’t, it is about a third of it, however there is something we can learn from New York. In 1990, there were 2,245 murders in the city, in 2017 there were 300. There were 102 murders in London in 2017, if they continue that the rate they have in the first three months of 2018, the total for the year will be more than 200. Why has the New York murder rate been going in the right direction for the last 25 years, yet the London rate appears to be increasing. Murder is of course done to the actions of individuals, but the things that we do in terms of government policy, including things like policing, youth work, social work, housing etc also has a significant impact.

      • One thing to remember about this is that when they talk about the NYC statistic, they mean the 5 boroughs, not the entire metropolitan area. Gentrification of the boroughs has pushed a lot of crime out into neighboring cities that are essentially attached and sometimes in a different state such as Jersey City, although these are in turns gentrifying.

        NYC does feel safe overall, although so does London. Now I’m not saying they haven’t been successful in tackling the causes of crime in some of the areas, I’m just saying be careful how they measure these statistics.

      • I’m typing this from New York where we are on holiday. There are plenty of unsalubrious areas and plenty of dodgy-looking characters hanging around including huge numbers of vagrants but the big difference is that the city is absolutely HEAVING with Police and security personnel; there is almost always a Police car in sight or officers hanging around watching the passing crowds (they don’t seem to walk around much) and there are armed military personnel at important places.

        In a big city like Manchester you seldom see Police and on an average night in our borough, the Ribble Valley, there may be ten or twelve officers on duty, of whom half have been allocated to permanent jobs like guarding prisoners in hospital or guarding crime scenes.

    • Dare I mention mass immigration, or will that have me automatically branded as a racist?

      • Your right! There is one particular race doing most of the stabbings and they aint indigenous to the uk or even Europe!

      • Do you realize of course that despite the rising rate this year, London is still much safer than it was 20 or 30 years ago. If someone wished to correlate immigration with murder, they could argue that mass immigration would make our streets safer. Obviously it isn’t as simple as that, but as you only do dog whistles, take that as your headline.

        • Do you have any stats to support that statement?

          As far as i can remember the threat of violence has never been so great…

          • It’s not:


            The murder rate in London in 1997 was 2.5 per 100,000, this was possibly slightly higher than average, but not by much, it was consistently above 2 per 100,000. In 2012, 2013, 2014 it was around 1.1 per 100,000. It has risen a little since then, but it is still only around 1.5 per 100,000.

            • Vague broad-brush stats, which do not take into account the pockets of violence in London, nor the ethnicity of perpetrators and victims.

    • I watched an interesting thing on BBC a few weeks ago “Inside Britain’s Moped Crime Gangs”. It was pretty telling there are a mixture of issues, but one of the most common themes was that there are just not any jobs, just they have gone down the crime route too. Now I don’t know if it is an excuse they tell themselves or not but was an interesting watch all the same.


      • Pretty interesting documentary…but I found the ‘lack of jobs’ argument unconvincing; particularly when advanced by a violent, greedy, ill educated, semi-literate hooligan.

        What job could he hope to get with no qualifications, no marketable skills, a penchant for extreme violence and a criminal record! And whose fault is that, if not his own!