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Friday, March 20, 2009

BBC Panorama looks at knife crime

BBC Panorama recently ran a programme about knife crime. I hadn't realised but the number of people convicted for carrying knives is ten times higher than it used to be.

By visiting this nation's prisons, questions considered by Panorama include reasons why UK youths are arming themselves and why some do this with killing in mind.

Some 34 teenagers were stabbed to death in 2008 across Britain. Terrible statistic.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Press request for female crime victims

A journalist has contacted me asking for help with violent crime-related stories involving females and court action... If you're interested in helping, you need to get back to me this week please.

"Hi Mark,

"My name's Ash and I hope you don't mind me contacting you like this, but I'm a freelance journalist who writes "real life" stories for women's magazines and as you write a knife crime blog, wondered whether any of your contacts might be interested in sharing their stories of being victims of/related to victims of violent crime?

"I appreciate that sharing their personal story in the press is not something that suits everybody, but in case it's something people you know would consider, I've written up more details below.

"If anyone would like to share their story in one of the publications I write for, then please be assured that an article would be written up really sensitively. They would have copy approval (meaning you can add/amend the final article) and would be paid generously for sharing their story. They would also be able to raise awareness of any charity or organisation they wish through the article.

"I'm also happy to email you copies of my printed work, as proof that I am who I say I am (as I know some people are wary of people contacting them via the internet).

"My editors are currently looking for female survivors/family members of female victims who have taken their attackers to court and have secured a guilty verdict. Do you think you may be able to send this message out to any of your other contacts?

"Hope to hear from you soon, if this is something you might be interested in. Thanks so much. Ash"

Please contact me via the 'Comments' link below if you are interested in contacting Ash. Just type me a message and leave me your contact details - none of this information you send me will be published on the blog.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hospital knife crime statistics show stabbings down

A little bit of good news in the knife crime 'theatre of war' - latest UK knife crime figures show hospitals treated less stabbings in 2008 than in the year before that.

A total of 5,239 stab victims were admitted to NHS hospitals - including 609 youths aged under 18. This is 481 less than the 5,720 figure of 2007. See 'Knife injury hospital admissions down eight per cent'.

That number is still in the thousands but perhaps it shows that campaigning is having an effect. Imagine if no-one spoke out - knife use could be spiralling upwards.

In addition, more criminals who carry and/or use blades are being jailed. See 'More knife carrying criminals sentenced to prison'.

Senior MP Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, said, "This sends a very important message to knife criminals and would-be knife carriers to pack it in."

On the other hand, given the massive outcry against knife use - and those that carry blades 'for protection' - I feel the figure ought to be lower. These figures indicate just how difficult and challenging it is to win over hearts and minds and persuade people to lay down weapons and never again pick them up.

I find myself thinking of society like a fine piece of timber and the knife carriers as bloody woodworm burrowing into many parts of the healthy structure, making it weaker. Destroying the worm and making society healthy again is a tough call. Let's keep on...