Search blog for knife crime info

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Knife crime - latest statistics + campaign developments

Latest knife crime statistics show attacks with blades fell to just over 10000 in last 12 months (2007/8) from about 12000 the year before, a drop of 15.5 per cent. And police are said to be detecting more with 24.5 per cent crimes solved (I assume that's what detection means) compared to 22.9 per cent last year.Fyi - there's plenty of knife crime updates and stories on the BBC site at present. Just type in 'knife crime' search term into the search box.

Thing about statistics is that they are only part of the story. Reporting knife crime was significantly less years ago. While giving a statement to Sussex police about the fatal attack I was involved with (click for more details), I remember being surprised when the detective investigating advised me that violent assaults with knives were daily events throughout the county - only the most serious might make the news.

It's mind-boggling to think criminals are using knives to wound, injure and kill on a regular basis, daily, hourly - even every minute(?). Hard to imagine at first that every day someone - or several people - are confident enough to pick up a blade and stick it into another human being. That's the level of depraved mind that needs to be changed somehow.

So - statistics may see knife crime has dropped a little, but many thousands of attacks are certainly not a time to stop or slow campaigning. Renewed efforts, determined focus on getting this figure down to a couple of thousand might be a point to pat backs and say "we're getting there" - even though just one death cannot be justified.

The government's three million pound anti-knife crime advertising push can be viewed from this link on Sky tv's picture gallery to tackle this UK scourge. It uses quite sickening photos of stabbing injuries. If you can bear to look, try to reflect on what you see - when you've seen someone's life ebb away from fatal wounds, you never want anyone else to suffer.

Home Office information about the spread of knife crime. There are a few useful links to check out on this page. Notably, it flags investment in a project called BE SAFE PROJECT - educating young people that knives cost lives.

This Bebo site is filled with young people campaigning for postive action against knives.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Knife crime in UK - podcast video

Link to video about knife crime in London

An anonymous blog post-er to this site sent in a link to an insightful video by Shola Amoo about knife crime in Britain's capital city.

Knife crime video - from Current tv by Shola Amoo

It's a must-watch - you have a chance to smell and breathe the air and environment that is 'knife crime' in the UK, and especially in the cities.

Not least, it helps to start to shine a spotlight on the complex societal and moral issues that are bound up in use of blades for destructive purposes.

Main highlights include:
  • Anti-knife crime campaign event
  • Stabbing victim showing his scars
  • Expert police analysis of knife use, especially for robbery
This is surely the type of peaceful initiative - professional community video tackling a worrying national issue - that can greatly impact the debate and help shape knife crime solutions. How are you aiming to be part of the solution? Tell this blog about it.

Gordon Brown, Cherie Blair 'et al' - Knife Crime Resources post

Knife crime media online resources

Gordon Brown, Jacqui Smith, Rio Ferdinand, Cherie Blair and Boris Johnson are among many in the media spotlight focusing their attention on knife crime. Made me think how media is shaping the knife crime issue. Do you think it is going in the right direction or being overtaken by some kind of strange, macabre glamourising of this often fatal form of violence because it seems to attract viewers and readers?

Thought it might be helpful to post a few knife crime media online resources in this post. Watching Sky news early this morning and surfing the web, it was striking that despite a welter of stories (that must generate a pile of pressure on those that could better tackle this UK scourge), it was alarming and still worrying that the 28th teenager has now been murdered in London this year (11th stabbed to death). It beggars belief so many people are dying - and being injured - by knife (and gun) carriers.

Knife crime search on Google - if you click this link, it will take you to a huge list of reference material. It demonstrated to me that Google is now recognising knife crime as a major content area, with its universal search capabilities kicking in.

Sky coverage of knife crime - a seemingly comprehensive multimedia round-up of violent crime in the UK

Telegraph on violent UK scourge - The Telegraph has always been quite a leading light online - their search facility works well; content is deep in coverage and makes you think

Anti-knife stories in The Times - one click will take you to this paper's round-up of articles, though no dedicated section

Knife crime search on BBC - the Beeb doesn't have a dedicated knife crime section despite the massive countrywide concern

This isn't everything but it's a useful place to start, review and think.

(I don't know what's going on with the Daily Mirror and The Guardian - some right wing plot to stop people reading these online papers maybe, but both these papers aren't loading on my computer - probably a cookie thing. And The Sun doesn't seem to show urls any more - which is weird. You can probably get to these - just enter 'knife crime' into their search boxes.)

Knife crime - thought for these violent times

When you see this lot, seems many people's careers are becoming more and more bound up in the anti-knife crime battle and phenomenon. Imagine that's a good thing. All most people want is knife - and gun - use to stop, full stop.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Knife crime battle - peaceful young people needed to fight back

Solving knife crime is a complex equation. An important dimension that risked being overlooked before this week has become a serious factor to take account of.

Children's Commissioner Sir Al Aynsley-Green entered the fray, warning that young people could be alienated by new police stop + search powers on Britain's streets.

Highly appropriate to raise this concern. It is surely a small minority of 'bad' people who through some kind of psychological and real threat of terror are holding (parts of) this country to ransom.

Fears of harm and danger - as well as regular stabbings, injuries and deaths - are now well established in the national psyche, sadly, as a result of this knife crime phenomenon. But it does no-one any good to demonise all young people.

Youngsters just as desperate to solve the UK's knife scourge have contributed to this blog, working to try to stop people carrying knives - and there are countless citizens out there, young and old, who are anti-knife carrying.

It is this moral majority whose powerful voices, intelligence and peaceful resistance we need at work in our homes, communities and on our streets. The Children's Commissioner is right to make his points.

I spotted a couple of notable anti-knife stories worthy of thought this week:

National ad campaign encourages mothers to talk to youngsters who carry blades

Police chief calls for knife detectors on UK streets - click here to see picture of knife detecting arches in action

Let's empower, encourage and support all those uncomfortable with knife crime. Just like any war or even political conflict, fighting knife crime is a battle for hearts and minds, just as much as it is for disarming criminals or cleaning up the streets.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Search and online marketing to drive home gun and knife crime campaign messages using the web

To help other people building knife crime-related websites and online memorials, thought I'd share a little knowledge about search and online marketing.

Now working for a search engine optimisation company called Fuse Optimisation, I've just spent a few minutes researching how UK search engine users are looking for information about knife crime.

Checking the latest statistics, I can see that the keyword string / keyphrase "knife crime" is being searched up to 10,000 times a month.

"Gun and knife crime" is next most popular - about 1300 searches a month on that term. "Teenage knife crime" is searched 110 x per month.

"Knife law" gets nearly 9000 searches monthly; "crime statistics" a whopping 33,100 searches every month(!); "knife gang" gets 390 searches; "knife victims" is typed in by 320 people; "knife crime campaigns" just 22 searches; "anti knife crime" 91 searches.

So anyone wanting their website to be found on Google and other search engines should include these key phrases in their content. There's much more to online marketing than just this but this will help you get started.

Online can be quite a maze; I've been working in this field since it started in the early 1990s so if you need guidance or information
to best focus on your knife crime campaigning or memorial work - or other search engine marketing activities - feel free to contact me at FUSE (click here). Glad to help.
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Twitter is an interesting online marketing, social media tool. I'd liken it a little to tv, where you can broadcast messages (and a profile picture) to people if you'd like.

To find out more about Twitter, visit the link below:
http://twitter.com/i/971cc357322416ab0037d2da010c5f95d77131df

Twitter is a unique approach to communication and networking based on the simple concept of: 'what are you doing?' What are your friends doing—right now? With Twitter, you may answer this question over SMS, IM, or the Web and the responses are shared between contacts.

Knife crime battle - never give in (Winston Churchill)

From the legendary Prime Minister Winston Churchill, thought I'd add a few words of inspiration in the battle against knife crime - and, if it helps, maybe this is useful for other life battles...

"... surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished..."

We could do with some of this from some leaders today - Gordon Brown, David Cameron 'et al' !

Churchill went on:

"Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer."

You can see the Winston Churchill speech here - Never Give In, Never, Never, Never.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

McDonalds stabbing; London police finally to act tough

I was staring at the BBC News channel tonight as the shock of a stabbing at a London McDonalds restaurant (in Oxford Street) started to permeate through the country and powers-that-be.

When the scrolling news ticker declares police are stepping up stop and search powers, that they want to work to end the knife-carrying culture among young people on London streets, it is shockingly apparent that this problem is looking to go out of control, if not already.

While many law-abiding people, including victims' families, have been trying to appeal to some kind of sense of moral conscience from those carrying knives, a crystal clarity descends that these people can't listen, apparently.

Why is that? Maybe it's down to some real sense of danger - but it's also down to an unwillingness to lose ownership of a weapon that can harm, can express false bravado, some kind of control over the other guy...

Powerless in a virtually corporate-run, bureaucratic society that can rob lives of meaning perhaps? These killers-in-waiting can afford a few pounds for a weapon to strike out - because, like most of us, they can't afford (or don't want) a better life promised by the desirous, covetous, myriad of societal marketing we endure every day.

It reminds me of Northern Ireland terrorist times - these 'urban thugs' are evoking real terror. When New York suffered violent crime years back, tourism suffered severely - after all, who wants to die while out shopping or eating a snack?

Don't know if I'm tapping quite the right vein of truth, but it's not hard to imagine I'm on the right lines. Whatever, it's point blank wrong that we must face fear on streets from those carrying blades.

At the same time, we use guns, missiles - and knives - in the Middle East to snuff out our enemies too. Not much of a better example for the disillusioned and angry young folk to try to emulate maybe (I reckon the argument about valid self-defence is lost on this video game generation).

As I said, I don't know all the answers - but killing or injuring people sure isn't one. Maybe the police 'stop and search' action in London will help - an active campaign of disarmament appeals, some firm education - but really, it must be wishful thinking. Knives are simply too freely available, and the mindset that needs changing too inextricably bound into a complex societal situation and disenfranchised generations - perhaps.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Bakery killer causes distress for UK society

Jimmy Mizen died in the arms of his brother. It is almost too sad to bear, too much to take in. I'm almost sobbing now as I remember holding Jacky Marshall after she was stabbed at McDonalds in Chichester.

Jimmy was a Catholic... like me. I was 16 years old; working for exams at a Catholic comprehensive about that time of life, I recall. Those happy video shots of the lively, fun chap make me smile a little midst the sorrow.

It's difficult to write in the midst of some violent death - many of us I know pause to absorb the sadness, grief, such seeming tragic waste of life. And, you know, typing these words sounds hollow to me... why do I write about it?

For someone who's been in the media, I know I was not given to self-promotion like some - I became a communications worker to serve a world of readers, to help bring understanding, knowledge that might be useful, to shine in dark places that need illuminating etc. But it's fine line. When you, as the writer, are seen in the throng of difficult times, people naturally watch and study you in the ensuing spotlight.

All I know is I don't like writing about these kind of things - but communicate about them it seems we must. If we have to learn by interacting at such events via the Internet, reading, tv etc, that more must be done to stop violent fools taking someone's life, then so be it... I write it.

All I feel I can say is - let's all learn something by it. And we can all pray, like we have never prayed before.
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