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Friday, August 21, 2015

England + Wales trend: Less violence than rest of the world

TO BE AWARE crime in England and Wales shows a trend of non-violence should be considered encouraging for anti-knife crime work.

With all crime at the lowest levels for about 30 years, the non-violence trend brings real hope that campaigners can make much progress to further reduce crimes carried out with sharp instruments - where knife crime figures are circa 26,000+ per year at present.

The trend I highlight is connected to robberies. Robberies account for about 1% of recorded crime while burglaries register 24%. In the USA, while burglaries still outnumber robberies, the proportion of robberies in the crime total is 4x higher.

And how does the tally look for murders on this island of ours, the most serious of crimes? In fact, there is less chance of being murdered in England than most other industrialised societies, according to official figures. (I've flagged this in previous posts, some of you may recall.)

The English murder rate is below that for Japan, less than half that for Germany or France, an eighth of the rate for Scotland or Italy and 26x lower than the United States.

It seems this island of ours has more respect for one another than the citizens of many other countries spread across this fragile planet of ours.

I came across this analysis in Jeremy Paxman's book, The English.  His figure for numbers of robberies is perhaps misleading where the 'Violence against the person' figure (from the Office for National Statistics - ONS - website) is far higher - but the fact there is an obvious trend against violence in this country versus other nations is, as I said, hopeful.

Also notable is the type of Englishman (it's almost always a male!) Paxman highlights as prone to violence... someone like a football hooligan.

Paxman describes one incident where the Swiss had held England to a 1-1 draw in a European Championship match. The Swiss fans were good natured and relatively quiet and unthreatening.

However, at one point outside Wembley, a young shaven headed Englishman eyeballed the Swiss on the other side of the street, ran across the road, shoved his face six inches from one of the young Swiss men in the crowd and screamed 'Wanker' at him.

The Swiss look baffled. The Englishman gesticulated, moving his hand up and down. 'You wanker!' he screamed again, drew back his fist, punched the man in the face and walked through the crowd. 

His walk was casual, cocky, slow enough to invite someone to retaliate for their friend's injury - he was now doubled up, with blood pouring from his nose. But none came, and the thug swaggered off down the pavement, doubtless eager to tell his friends he'd 'done' one of the visiting fans.

Apparently, this is how part of the English population has always been. Fighting (and drunkenness) is considered to be a birthright, maybe. I certainly remember a few from my school days - and those older thugs from the odd Pompey match I had seen (of 657 Crew infamy) and plenty of documentaries on football hooliganism (e.g. Millwall and Chelsea types immediately come to mind).

I can't help thinking that this football fighter caricature applies to those idiots who use weapons. It is a way for these louts / yobs to proclaim their identity; these are the targets to reach. 

As time goes by, I can see that this anti-violence campaign work is not unlike an analogy with the Egyptians of old... an influential nationwide campaign and movement is being built, stone by stone, that deserves to see a remarkable monument (Pyramid) completed to mark a more peaceful nation and world... one day. I would like to predict this is achieved sooner rather than later.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Education programme on dangers of weapon-related crime

THERESA CAVE, mum of fatally stabbed teenager Chris Cave, is inviting schools and other youth organisations to sign up for a hard-hitting programme to try to prevent weapon-related crime.

POINT7 is designed to give young people a broader understanding of the often terrible and hurtful effects on the lives of family, friends and knife / gun crime victims.

The following video highlights the devastation and pain caused by knife and gun crime, and shows excerpts from the POINT7 initiative:

POINT7 is a Tilly award nominee and features on page 12 of ‘Tackling knife crime together - a review of local anti-knife crime projects’ a report orchestrated by Brooke Kinsella in 2011 stating the programme should be prevalent in all schools (Brooke is the sister of another young man, Ben Kinsella from London, killed in a knife attack).

More details about POINT7 programme, which is presented free, can be found on The Chris Cave Foundation website.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Why won't knife crime stats go down? Who STILL wants to stab people?

LIKE many of us presumably, I find it difficult to understand knife crime figures are rising when overall crime is down. Who is out there in Britain still deciding to carry a knife... despite years of anti-knife campaigning work across our nation? Why do they choose to carry arms, carry weapons... WHY?

Some 250 people are now stabbed every week in Britain, according to official figures just released. Numbers of police on our streets have been reduced by 1 in 7 in recent years so a knife crime rise could be connected to that.

Or maybe it's a propaganda-type trick. Authorities report the numbers are up so there's an argument for there to be a 'legitmate' clampdown and targeting by police 'hit squads' on knife carriers.

Crime across the country has dropped except for knife crime, apparently. Is there a balance being struck between the cost of policing, winning hearts and minds with community work and communications, bringing down crime levels - and not having them go up again?

BBC News: July 2015: Latest crime stats released for 2014/15

It is one of those remarkable coincidences, as noted by my previous analysis work over the years reported in this blog, that another general election is over and something odd is notable again in the crime figures. I wonder what figures issued by public authorities can be trusted.

But putting that bigger issue to one side (and that's difficult to do, quite frankly), the moral argument to go after knife carriers on UK streets is unimpeachable.

With knife-related crime stats showing a stubborn trend to not go down from, say, 25,000-ish, tough action to combat this evil, cowardly activity in our green and pleasant land - and pot-holed, dirty and badly-kept urban streets - must be pursued.

Better to remove knives from the carriers than suffer the human cost of dead and injured victims, surely? Ditto guns, other weapons, terrorism etc.

Tragically, many of us will have seen the news this week evidencing the clearest example of the knife crime problem... cyclist Don Lock - a fit, active and much-loved 79-year-old grandfather - was killed by a 'mindless' knife carrier in a reported road rage incident near Worthing in West Sussex. Apparently, the killer was a man aged 34 (police are shown arresting the male suspect below, from the Daily Mirror). How to get knives out of the hands of such men and women? How??

Road rage stabbing incident in Findon, West Sussex
See full story on Mirror website
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