In their own words
BBC News programmes are often at their most brilliant and vivid when we hear real stories from our audiences.
No debate on knife crime and the government's response to it could be complete without the voices of young Britons. They include millions of Radio 1 listeners - some with dramatic first hand experience.
A half-hour edition of Newsbeat put the subject under the microscope. Scott Breslin was 16 when he was stabbed in the neck in Glasgow. Paralysed - he can move his head. That's about it. He needs 24/7 care and his two attackers are already out of jail, after a small handful of years inside while Scott lives with his own life sentence. He told Newsbeat's Briar Burley his story: moving, shocking - and one that made some of our audience very angry.
From the streets - a different story: "I'll die for my friends - I'll kill for my friends" - one young blade carrier told us.
Reporter Tulip Mazumdar was in Polmont Young Offenders' Institution near Falkirk - where many of Scotland's knife criminals end up. Of course, knife crime in the Glasgow area is a serious, long running problem and one which is often under-reported by London-based media.
We also heard from New Yorker Mike Tanelli in the Bronx - he told our US reporter Sima Kotecha that he'd been "...shot, stabbed, and hit with baseball bats for nothing but just for fun". But that in tough areas like this the NYPD's policy of flooding tough areas with cops had cut crime...high visibility policing is appealing to many of those who got in touch with us.
One policeman texted to say they barely have the manpower or equipment to defend themselves let lone the public - he thinks Tasers could be the answer.
But is it all the media's fault?
The stats suggest that knife crime in London is down and overall knife crime is more or less the same as it's always been. In many parts of Britain - especially rural areas - young people simply don't carry knives. But we also know the official stats are probably flawed: they under-report under 16s and hospital information may be incomplete. With the audience the stats clearly lack credibility.
Jonathan Blake in Liverpool found huge scepticism among people there about the government's latest measures. A huge volume of texts gripped in our political reporter Rajini Vaidyanathan's hands, she fired a question at the prime minister's press conference. "Our listeners think you are out of touch". He said he wanted our audience to know: "If you carry a knife our intention is that you are punished."
Our texts kept coming in: "My boyfriend was stabbed and killed two-and-a-half years ago. I just don't believe sentences are harsh enough and neither is prison." Many, many others from victims, and others from those explaining why they carry blades "to protect myself - if I get attacked I want to defend myself: it's kill or be killed".
Our audience responded in huge volume to our special programme with a range of ideas, anger and frustration.
There was a similar story on our sister station 1Xtra which mounted a special programme too, fronted by Mike Anthony of the Rampage crew, himself a recent stab victim.
A 15-year-old girl holds her boyfriend after he's stabbed to death by a gang of teenagers. He dies in her arms. His best friend dreamt that one of them would be killed - he wasn't sure who it would be. Making it to 17 is a surprise to him anyway as he feels the good die young - so he's prepared.
You may think that this is a plotline from a movie or play - it's not. It's a real life story. In our documentary Street Diary, produced by Nicola Asamoa, we heard from young people directly affected by crime. They included the best mate and girlfriend of 16-year-old Kodjo Yenga who was stabbed to death by a gang of teenagers in London last year.
We also heard from a former gang member who joined a gang because he didn't have any brothers or sisters to look out for him. Artists Bashy and Dizzee Rascal also gave us their take on life on the streets.
Our range of voices and experiences demonstrated to us that whatever the official stats, whatever the politicians or journalists may say, out on the real streets of some parts of Britain, knife crime is a terrifying and real part of peoples lives.