It is well understood that knife crime within the UK is a growing problem that is proving increasingly difficult for authorities to curb. But what causes this social phenomenon? Why are young people carrying knives and why are so many stabbings occurring? This article will intend to highlight four of the most touted causes of knife crime put forward by those people most at risk.
Conflict is often highlighted as one of the causes of knife crime; it is also referred to as 'postcode stabbing' as it typically involves two or more gangs fighting for territory in a specific geographical area. Territorial conflict is not a new phenomenon, it has been prevalent in society for centuries; today it is youngsters who get sucked into these gangs that are the most at risk from a knife attack.
Additionally they are more likely to carry a weapon as part of gang policy and activity. This issue is difficult to tackle; it falls into the wider problem of gang culture which has a large range of cultural, economical and societal causes. For instance, it is in deprived urban areas where gangs are prevalent, this is due to the fact that they are surrounded by hopelessness and desperation.
This desperation is caused by a lack of job prospects and the result is that young people are often attracted by the immediate gains in respect and recognition that can be obtained within gang culture. The only way to cope with this problem is through educating young people so they realise the importance of learning and knowledge in securing a good job and better prospects.
Unfortunately knife crime can in some places be cyclical. As with many gang cultures across the world the loss of a loved one or family member can lead to revenge attacks. Once again this is a problem that comes as a result of gang culture and allegiance. Sadly this creates a situation often termed as a 'circle of destruction' the result is that vendettas continue through generations and can result in families losing numerous members.
Tackling this problem is once again extremely difficult, education is the best form of action although attempting to tell a younger sibling that they are to ignore the murder of their older brother or sister is practically impossible, only through a realisation that this circle of revenge will only lead to the death of a generation is it possible to cease the knife crime vengeance.
Many young people carry knives for the sake of protection. In areas where robberies and muggings are commonplace it is understandable that through fear young people choose to carry a weapon. However, the issue of protection is contentious, mainly due to the fact that carrying a knife is likely to attract more trouble; additionally, having a knife on your person makes it more likely that it will be used, further increasing knife crime statistics.
To tackle this issue it is not education but an increase in the feeling of safety amongst young people in vulnerable areas, this can be done with a greater police presence. The final commonly touted cause of knife crime is recognition. This once again falls under the gang culture tag. An individual may chose to carry and use a knife in order to gain recognition amongst their peers. Carrying a knife may bring a custodial sentence but in some areas this is an incentive to carry one as it will bring further recognition after 'doing time'.
Hopefully this article has looked at some of the key issues surrounding gun crime in the UK. It is a large problem that requires an all encompassing approach taking into account the necessity of education and sensitive community policing. It is only through a conscientious approach that the issue can be remedied effectively.
Cultural commentator Thomas Pretty studies four of the most touted causes of knife crime and how the issue can be remedied within the UK.