It should come as no shock that gang and knife crime is a problem in the UK. It is something that has dominated the headlines in recent months, with there being a particular need for reducing gang crime in London. Many young people in the country are ushered into gangs from an early age, with some quickly recognizing gang activity as ‘the norm.’
The Office of National Statistics revealed a 12% increase in police recorded offenses that involved a knife or other sharp instrument. This equated to a total of around 40,100 offenses across the UK, which is the highest number in the last 8 years.
What’s more, the ONS recorded 268 homicides involving a knife or sharp instrument across England Wales between 2017-2018.
It is London that comes out on top; this is perhaps due to a bigger population than other areas, but nonetheless, London recorded its highest rate of knife offenses last year.
An epidemic of stabbings in the London boroughs has sparked a huge debate on how to solve the problem. In the year ending March 2018, young people aged between 10-17 accounted for 21% of the disposals given for the possession of a knife or other offensive weapon.
The maximum sentence can be anything from 6 months to 4 years, which for a young person can mean a huge piece of their adolescent lives gone.
Helping to reduce knife crime
Knife crime and gang related incidents are something that nearly everyone has an opinion on. Many think that education is the key, especially where children are involved. Going into schools and teaching young people the dangers of gang culture, and what carrying a knife could mean for your future, is an important part of reducing the amount of knife-related crimes.
A lack of public services may also be contributing to this rise in knife offenses. Youth work and mental health along with education are key areas to keep young people out of dangerous situations. By working closely amongst communities, the local expertise and experiences can help to keep children and young adults away from the gang culture that seems so rife across parts of the country.
Providing the right education
Keeping children in education is a way of supporting them towards legitimate employment; whether that’s through mainstream schools or alternative options. Educational workshops are an equally great concept that allows children to learn new skills that channel their energy into something productive. Charities like the Wickers Charity and other programmes work year-round to deliver provisions like this, whether it’s music production or graphic design, or another similar creative subject that the younger generation is passionate about.
It is important to provide young people with positive role models to look up to, instead of those who glamourize gangs and their activity. Workshops and other similar events can improve confidence in their abilities and increase their self-worth. In turn, this can help young people take more control of their future and stay away from knife-related crime.