Rise of knife crime in London: Are parents concerned?

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by Omotolani Shokeye

Expensive accommodation is not the only reason people want to move out of London. Many parents are moving their families outside the capital because of the escalating spike in the number of knife crimes.

Three people have been stabbed to death this weekend, with another nine people – all aged 19 or under – killed  by knife crime in London this year, according to the Guardian webpage “Beyond the blade”, which tracks and records all knife crime in London.

Parents raising a family in London, especially teenagers, fear that the capital might not be the safest place to raise their kids because of knife crime. They fear not only for their children’s safety, but also that they might be influenced or pressured into carrying a knife themselves.

“I have a thirteen-year-old girl and a stepson who is sixteen, and it’s a constant worry for me when they go out. I don’t want to have to worry about my kids getting stabbed when they go out over something stupid,” said nursery nurse Nicola, who didn’t want to give her surname.

“I am very anxious and worried about the future of my two-year-old son growing up in London, so I am looking to move out.”

Nicola added that there is only so much the authorities can do, and that they shouldn’t be blamed for everything. Parents should take more responsibility when it comes to protecting their children against knife crime.

“There should be more to do at home as parents need to check their teenagers and make sure they know where they go and who they hang around. Schools should also support by having more security system around,” she added.

The Metropolitan Police service recently published its end of year crime statistics for 2016-2017.  Martin Hewitt, Assistant Commissioner of Territorial Policing, said on its website: “There are complex social reasons why more young people are carrying knives and this cannot be solved by the police alone, we must work with communities to help combat knife crime.”

Young people may be involved in knife crime for various reasons, and getting involved with a gang is easy. Local business college student Kelvin James said: “It is easy to go into gangs and fall off, especially when people find it difficult in school to focus and they are easily influenced by their friends and start using knives for protection.”

He said young men are most at risk of knife and gun crime, compared to teenage girls. “Especially if you are out late, your parent will be concerned and calling you. If I was living outside London, I don’t think my parent will be as scared of me staying out late as they do now.”

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