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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Minister joins Knife Crime blog criticism of arrogant bankers

Well, it's good to see some pretty senior people agree with me. In my business killers post below, I criticised the greed of bankers and business. Now, City minister Lord Myners has echoed this blog's thinking. His words also aptly describe the superior, lofty attitude of the out-of-touch banking and business elite: "arrogant", "greedy", "no sense of society", and describing their approach to life as "unpalatable".

Hope things change for the better. Tackling an inequitable work and life environment just might give some hope that knife crime, violent crime can be tackled at grass roots level, offering lifelines to the despairing and disenfranchised out there that it is worth working for a living. And I know this is idealism talking - imagine, some kind of heaven on earth. How daft am I...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Knife crime statistics - January 2009

Try this Google search for all recent information articles on the latest crime figures, including the increase in knife crime.

Latest crime and knife crime statistics

Business is killing security and happiness in our society

During summer last year I pointed out in this knife crime blog that greedy bankers and business would cause us major misery (see business killers post).

Well, then the whole world financial system crashed - which, despite my prophetic-type comments, surprised the heck out of me!

Now, as the mess caused by a greedy financial system and money-obsessed business machine starts to roll out, causing abject misery for millions, there are still business people out there saying, "Glad I'm not among those poor little people struggling on next to nothing. Imagine, no job. Must be their fault. They need to get on their bike. I worked to get where I am, I deserve to be in a safe, secure position."

You know, the kind of selfish rhetoric that bounces round those self-interested types.

Well, it just occurred to me that perhaps it really is time that the high salaries, bonus mentality etc and the capitalist gearing that ensures corporations hoover money out of society, country economies etc, even poor and sick people's homes, must stop.

What gives someone the right to earn more than the nurse, dustman or the toilet cleaner? Better use of brain power? I'm not saying the lazy and criminal etc should be rewarded - some pushing, penalty and punishment is surely required at times.

But who says law-abiding, honest people, hard-working families, deserve so much less than the business people who are obsessed with the luxuries of life, at the expense of others?

More equality is required. Love is missing in the economy. I don't mean elimination of reward for good work. But it is obscene for a few to be able to acquire the trappings of massive wealth while others barely get by, perhaps starving or near the breadline.

I refer back to what I said a while back - those in authority, societal leaders, especially those at or near the top of the financial or wealth tree, need to realise the reponsibility they have to ensure a moral, accessible economic system that allows those in the poorer sections of society to aspire to better lives, to be able to do worthwhile work. In the current recession, livelihoods, skills, decent lives are being shattered and it's going to get worse.

At the moment, we have a prime, terrible example, how the so-called cleverest, best and honoured in society just stripped the system to a shambolic state barely deserving the words 'human'. What a bunch of bankers. Remembering this is a knife crime blog, it's worth considering the analogy that they may not hold the knife but they are at least partly responsible for the reasons why misery is caused, why crime happens and blades are in people's pockets.

Mind you, after saying all that, you must all realise that it can be pretty easy to rant on in this vein, casting about for some people or something to blame. I don't pretend to be highly knowledgeable about all of this but I can't help feeling that, despite all those great brains out there, we seem to be in a situation where the blind are leading the blind - straight into some pretty crap ditches.

I suppose, at the end of the day, if life was easy, we'd all be millionaires.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The violent crime of murder - TV research request...

I have been contacted by a TV researcher who is working on producing a series about murder. I publish the details here... he needs to hear from you by the end of this week. Let me know if you'd like to contact him - I will send you his contact details.

Here's his note:

"I am a researcher for Unicorn TV, who have been commissioned by CIN to make a series about living with Murder. We are currently searching for contributor stories.

"The aim of the show is to tell the stories of some of the people whose lives have been affected by murder, to demonstrate how such events have more than one victim and that those left behind can continue to feel the effects for many years after.

"We're looking for people who have suffered the murder of a loved one and who would be brave enough to tell their story, either in the aim of achieving some closure themselves or to help others who've experienced a similar tragedy.

"We are a small, sensitive team who are used to handling such stories extremely delicately. I would be grateful if you could circulate this email to anyone who may wish to tell us their story."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

From knife crime to road deaths - young people in danger

With nine children convicted of knife crime charges each week and five-to-six people dying every seven days from stabbings, the statistics sound very alarming.

It surprised me then to discover there is a worse killer leading to the death of many more of our young people. While this is a knife and gun crime blog, I thought it useful to highlight the number of killings on UK roads.

I think a using a prominent public issue like knife crime to highlight another killer of young lives is acceptable when the ultimate aim is to save lives. Hopefully, more will be done to save lives!

The fact is young drivers are an extremely vulnerable group on UK roads. In my work, I develop and write for websites of insurance companies and there are some horrendous facts and figures I have come across that parents and young people, as well as public bodies such as the police, really ought to weigh up when thinking about new drivers taking to the road for the first time:

FACT: About 13 young people die each week in road crashes.
FACT: Some 3,000 young people aged under 25 are killed or seriously injured each year.
FACT: About 40,000 deaths and injuries in crashes involve drivers with less than two years experience.
FACT: One in five new drivers aged between 17 and 19 crash within the first year of passing their test.
FACT: Young people aged between 17 and 20 are TEN TIMES as likely to be killed or seriously injured as more experienced motorists.
FACT: Traffic crashes are the single greatest killer of those aged 15-24.
FACT: Up to 30% of fatal road crashes involve a young driver.
FACT: Young drivers are twice as likely to die in a road crash when carrying passengers of their own age, with one young passenger making an accident twice as likely, two or more making it five times as likely.
FACT: 26% of convictions for causing death by dangerous driving are against under 21 year olds.
FACT: Research shows that accident liability is reduced by nearly half after two years' driving experience.

There is no need to exaggerate the problem - these statistics about young drivers make for a huge, scary and intimidating list of depressing - and alarming - findings, probably enough to make many parents and youngsters, upon reflection, think twice about whether learning to drive is worth the risk.

What can be done? I've seen a few courses that improve young people's driving skills (but not enough, sadly). Many parents would probably have little hesitation paying out a little extra money that might help save their children's lives.

This year I noticed the Institute for Advanced Motoring (IAM) are offering young people a special Christmas promotion - advanced driving lessons and membership of their organisation by signing up for a 'Skill for Life for Drivers' course costing just £70 - see the following website:

If I were a young driver, or parent of a son or daughter who's learning or just learned to drive, this seems a small price to pay for probably saving lives. Forget buying the latest video games or gadget, save lives this Christmas and sign up for one of these courses.

It is also perhaps worth turning considerable attention to insurance companies that charge huge amounts for young people's car cover (the average annual car insurance bill for young people can be well over £1000; for some, astonishingly, several thousands of pounds).

It seems quite irresponsible to just keep raking in profits without establishing a better system of young driver training. In addition, more focus on this issue by the police and local authorities would help, not just focusing almost solely on speeding and drink-driving - just as for knife crime and other violence, they should have young people more in their thoughts... they are our future.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Latest knife crime statistics - end of 2008

Something is clearly still very wrong with UK society when there are five to six fatal stabbings every week (depending which knife crime article you read).

I'm beginning to wonder if there are a hard core of people out there that believe violence is the answer to life's difficulties: 'if in doubt, lash out'.

Another part of me wonders how much of this is organised - gangs with a criminal or some kind of power-led, empirical agenda. Hidden webs of evil. It just seems kind of too regular for it to be just opportunistic. I'm trusting - and hoping - that's just paranoid thinking.