Knife Crime: Peer Pressure, Revenge and Broken Families
Knife crime – Britain has become notorious for it. Some people compare it to the American gun violence epidemic. Most acts of knife violence are committed by 15-25 year old males who come from working class backgrounds. Weapons are easily accessible and can range from cooking knives to machetes that can be bought online where there are no age restrictions.
It is estimated that a crime involving a knife occurs every fourteen minutes and police are under increasing pressure to undertake more stop and searches on the streets to impose penalties on people who are classified as a danger. Families of victims, however, urge the British prime minister, Theresa May, to invest more money into the police force and particularly the Metropolitan Police in London, where murder is more of an issue.
Due to budget cuts, police numbers have seen the decline of 20,000 officers since the Conservative Party came to power in 2010.
It is no surprise that police are mainly called to deprived areas, where gangs roam estate blocks and boys carry knives when they go out – a common claim being that they are used for self defence. From a young person’s perspective, it is easy to be influenced by the wrong crowd. It is, therefore, crucial that teenagers stay in education and are taught about how choosing friends wisely will affect the kind of person they will turn out to be – behavioural studies have shown that the people close to you will impact your way of thinking and the way you act.
Growing up on a hostile estate and coming from a fractured home with an absent father or mother, some feel as though it is inevitable that they are destined to a life of violence and selling drugs.
There is a mantra that young males carry around with them, ‘kill or be killed’, which is saddening because nobody is born a murderer or should be a victim of a premature death. Nowadays, a person doesn’t have to be a victim of revenge or be in a gang to be stabbed; an individual could be killed for their Rolex watch on the way home from work or waiting at a bus stop in broad daylight. It really could happen to anyone.
Although there is absolutely no reason why a man should take a person’s life, the sources of the problems embedded in our society desperately need to be identified. A large majority of these young men come from separated, low income parents, where there might not be enough motivation for them to do well in school, go to university and break the stereotype.
A high level of support needs to be provided to them and that’s where leisure and youth centres play an important role in creating a space where adolescents can escape from the streets and improve their self-worth and self-respect through a hobby. Part of the escalating rate of knife crime stems from youths having too much time and not knowing what to do with it, so joining a gang gives them a sense of belonging.
Boxing clubs, such as The Fitzroy Lodge Amateur Boxing Club in Lambeth, London, help adolescents build their confidence and get their lives back on track.
Prevention is better than cure and it is imperative that run-down neighbourhoods receive the funding they need to build activity centres to help reduce gruesome killings by knives.
Global Seven News