By Francesca Mazzola and Naomi Morris
What is freedom? Is it carrying a knife?
Knife crime has risen to a four-year high with a steady increase since June 2014, according to figures collected by the BBC.
Many charities aim to help battle knife crime, including the Ben Kinsella Trust, which was set up in memory of Ben Kinsella, 16, who was stabbed to death in 2008 after an unprovoked attack in Islington, London.
“Our aims are to get sentencing laws increased, which we accomplished in 2015 with a two-year increase,” Patrick Green, Trust Manager, told The Londoner.
Action is taking place by educational workshops being held at schools, and teaching children the consequences of carrying a knife.
Kartel Brown, documentary filmmaker and youth culture activist, told London Met students on Tuesday about the true horror Londoners are facing with knife crime. He has witnessed protests and riots from a young age.
“Gang activity is real in London,” he said. “Having spent time with mothers whose sons were murdered, it’s heartbreaking. How many young men must die until the Met Police say: ‘Enough is enough’?”
He spoke about the ongoing, and rising, murders and arrests caused by knife crime all over the U.K, stressing that urgent changes need to be made to tackle the never-ending battle knife crime brings up. “Communities need to engage with police, and for them to actually listen,” Brown said.
“People only paid attention when it happened to middle-class communities,” Maurice Mcleod, social commentator and journalist, agreed, adding that many people in the Black community are scared to contact police, no matter what the problem is.
“I can’t imagine any circumstance where I would phone the police,” he said.
The future is in the younger people’s hands. That is why London-based Art Against Knives is supporting young people at the risk of crime.
The charity hosts a collection of art from up-and-coming artists, to educate young people to express themselves, and runs workshops that allow ideas and work to be shared.
“There’s no reason why it [crime] cannot be reduced,” said Green of the Ben Kinsella Trust.