Comments for en-gb 30 Fri 25 Jul 2014 11:40:45 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at shellingout Dantera85We have 2 sons in their 20's. They were both born in London, but we moved to the country when our youngest son was 2 when we found out there was a drug dealer living 200 yards from our front door.Neither of our sons have ever carried knives and I can be absolutely sure about that. Although one of them smokes, they do not take drugs either. Could this be that their upbringing was tempered with love and discipline? We knew where both our boys were in the evenings, even when they were well over 18. They told us - we didn't ask and they enjoyed their evenings out with their friends.I can believe that groups of youths hang around on street corners just to be with their mates, but please tell me, how does any unsuspecting member of the public know that they won't get stabbed or mugged when they walk past? Large groups of young males are intimidating to most people and that's a fact. I think we have to be really tough and say that anyone caught with a knife will automatically go to prison, and we should act on it too. I think the reason this is so rife is because very little punishment can be meted out to youngster's under the age of 16 - and they know it, which gives them all the more reason to do it. Parents should also be held accountable. After all, they are their responsibility, and if they are negligent in their duty, they should be penalised too. Fri 11 Jul 2008 14:35:11 GMT+1 Dantera85 just so you get a measure of who i am, im a 6'2 white 22 year old male from a town in north wales with a population of about 10,000 people.a fair few people have mentioned tough jail sentences for carrying a knife. sound in principal but...surely then u wud have to look at wether or not jails actually do their job of reformation, rehabilitation and education? i mean, that is the job of the prison system isnt it? and if a 'youth' with a knife got jail time, the fact that they had a knife in the first place would tell us they dont give much regard to the laws, so then surely prison would not be reasonable choice. i once carried a knife, purely with the specific intention to go and stab someone. as soon as i left the house i realised how stupid i was being, and promptly put the knife back in the kitchen draw. its all very well shouting from the rooftops to lock them away and throw away the key, but that doesnt solve the problem, only moves it on.whilst statistics look good written down, its never as black and white as that. theres a whole host of different shades of grey inbetween that cant be put into neat soundbites. im not gona sit here and spout a loud of solutions because there are so many variables. whilst confronting the parents, or educating the people carrying may work for some it wont work for in north wales, the danger of knife crimes or people carrying knives is pretty much non existent. iv never been threatened with one or seen someone carrying one, and that includes all the times iv been to manchester or liverpool (friends and relatives to visit) in some of the rougher and nicer areas. iv only been to london once, hated it, never been again(i hasten to add, thats nothin to do with violence, i just hate the city). the fact is, that the majority of groups of young kids who hang around on the streets do so, purely to hang with their mates. i did that, im sure most of you did that. it doesnt mean that they will knife you and rob you. whilst im sure it is a problem in some areas, it doesnt mean that the whole of the british youth needs to be tarred with the same brush. and throwing money at the problem or simply saying MANDATORY SENTANCES will not sovle the problem. its like being overweight, it didnt all appear overnight. so it wont all go away with some quick fixes. it will take a long time and a lot effort from everyone who wants it to change. but what we can do, is stop this hysteria of crying wolf. it doesnt help. and if you let your kid play out of an evening, your not a bad person, its just normal. everyone stop spouting rhetoric and actually look around at the problem, it probably isnt as bad as we are being lead to believe Mon 07 Jul 2008 20:21:50 GMT+1 redgloops I feel I must reply to a post by "todayssolution".If the young people of today are not responsible for their culture then why do you all encourage the Gangsta image of pop stars by buying their records, encourage Rap songs by doing the same and literally spreading the word within your own generation that these people are your heros. If you can blame the previous generation for your plight then you can understand how to put it right not encourage itStand up and be counted, think before any of you teens do something wrong and encourage others to stop this mindless violence. Please dont write something and then do nothing about it Mon 07 Jul 2008 18:33:17 GMT+1 redgloops As a rider to my comments, LETS GET REAL and let us ALL do something instead of thinking it will never affect us personally Mon 07 Jul 2008 17:22:16 GMT+1 Erp1966 The user of knives and weapons has been characteristic of gangs throughout history. What is characteristic of the UK problem at the moment is that it is a metropolitan phenomenon closely attached to "turf wars". This can be found in any city virtually anywhere in the world.What has aggravated the UK problem is the 'anti-racist' element which has seen a focus on limiting police control over ethnic minority youth (as with SUS laws) while creating more and more inter-ethnic division within cities through city housing policies. This process is politically motivated and can be most clearly seen in parts of central London where ethnic groups can and do determine outcomes in local and national elections. Throw into that mix increasingly diverse black and african minorities from Somalia or Ethiopia or Zimbabwe and the turf war becomes a battle for black ethnic "supremacy" among young people from cultures where weapons are an everyday feature of ordinary life. The Afro-Caribbeans were never going to surrender that supremacy easily. Add a mix of adult organized crime using these groups as their recruitment base and we have the same scenario that every World city has seen. Mon 07 Jul 2008 17:21:59 GMT+1 redgloops Do we have to suffer statistics that are not at all current? Its all very well saying that statistics say this and statistics say that, the ordinary people are not interested in them, they are interested in the news day by day and the appalling number of children and adults murdered by mindless thugs who roam our streets.I blame parents, drugs and violent games that are all too readily available for children to play on their playstations. These younger people think these are REAL LIFE and carry on regardless of any consequences.The goverment promise this, that and the other but the mindless violence continues. Only today another young boy has died after three weeks in hospital so we will be seeing another funeral of a young life lost to violence.It is time this "LOST" goverment literally pulled their finger out of the dyke and DID SOMETHING instead of continually just talking about it. How many more lives are to be lost because of a dithering goverment who can only offer statistics Mon 07 Jul 2008 17:21:04 GMT+1 Red Lenin @57 - My experience of these feral youth gangs is that alcohol is not a factor. Believe it or not, 24 hour drinking or not, most of them don't actually drink. They are still 'child-like' in that they prefer coke, fanta, sweets, crisps, big macs etc and that's where they spend their ill-gotten gains.What is having a massive impact however is drugs - both their relative 'cheapness' and also their easy availability. Sadly, a large chunk of well-meaning liberals think that making them legal will inprove things. It won't. It will lead to a huge increase in child-gangs.The only answer to the drugs problem - which is behind most of the street crime child or adult - is severe punishment. No cautions or warnings, 100% mandatory prosecution all the time every time irrespective of age. It will condemn a fair few youngsters of all classes to a criminal record but within a couple of years it will have an impact. Mon 07 Jul 2008 11:52:02 GMT+1 CarolineOfBrunswick Re 59 - It looks like the Telegraph story (also in the Independent) relates to Accident and Emergency department attendances, while Mark Easton's is based mostly on admissions (i.e. to a bed on a ward).It's not easy to tell with the way the stories are written, but they are different datasets. Mon 07 Jul 2008 11:08:43 GMT+1 tarquin 59 - come now, at least analyse the data properly, especially if you're going to simply cite the torygraph which has a ridiculous agenda (not that i'm ever a fan on labour)446 under 14s according to the TG, but only 179 under 16s according to Mark - obvious difference is that Mark only used figures for England - as that is the only figure you disputed what exactly has been undermined?and including the mutilation of those two french students as 'knife crime'...broadsheets are no better than the tabloids, they just use bigger words Mon 07 Jul 2008 02:25:51 GMT+1 todayssolution A gang culture that originates from where? Certainly not the teens of this generation, my generation. The gangs have been nurtured by previous generations and the teenagers of today are being groomed to participate in those activities. But what generation is that - yours? It isn't the teenagers now that are promoting gang culture through the music that they have NO control over or the movies that they have NO say in. Maybe if the generations before us had put their energy into more positive efforts we wouldn't be facing this issue. So before you blame us why don't you ask yourself who created the society and culture that deems it acceptable to be in a gang, or conceeds to the norm being one where its okay to shoot someone because they don't agree with you, or finds it okay to devote millions of pounds to bring the olympics to london instead of improving schools or facilities or housing??? Who is it that put the people who make those decisions in government - the teenagers that don't have a vote? Mon 07 Jul 2008 00:34:41 GMT+1 rrwholloway destroys your entire argument really.Do your research properly next time. Sun 06 Jul 2008 22:12:36 GMT+1 dennisjunior1 Mark,thanks for the blog about this type of society is sad that young people needs to have guns and knives.thanks, for doing the update and correcting your numbers. Sat 05 Jul 2008 15:37:28 GMT+1 tarquin 55 - the 24hr licensing works in most places, and for every article that says the police hate it, you'll find one where they say it hasn't made crime any worse - it works in plenty of other western countries, and most of the problems are in our inner cities - therein lies the issue, i think the government overstepped its bounds in limiting our drinking hours in the first place - also very few premises open 24hrs, it's generally extended to midnight or 1am on peak nights - clubs were always able to stay open til the wee hours, so slapping a restriction on changes what?I've noticed a greater degree of fear from foreigners and ex-pats, seem to think we're drowning in poverty, decay and crime - I guess it's only because you get the news (online) and don't see the everyday realities, nobody reports "everything's fine in bath" Sat 05 Jul 2008 14:12:56 GMT+1 Lazarus So as you say yourself, #55, the problem is parenting, but yet you see the removal of the system that essentially pays people to breed without responsibility as a bad thing.As long as this country insists on rewarding people for doing nothing and rewarding them even more for breeding, it's obvious that for many it's going to become a career choise, and to hell with the consequences. Despite this being obvious for so many years now, and with "welfare lifers" now in their 3rd or even 4th generations now, what motivation is there to change? So long as breeding remains the easy option the problem is always going to be there, especially when there's no incentive to raise children properly once they're out of the womb.Abolishing child benefits and free council houses puts the onus back on parents to take responsibility for their offspring rather than just continually perpetuating the problem. Why people reject the obvious fact that paying people regularly for having children that they don't necessarily have to think about or care for will result in such a cold and apathetic generation is a mystery to me. And the idea that if you provide people with enough monetary benefits you will cure all of society's ills is just laughable, or at least it would be if it wasn't my money they were dishing out at every turn. The only thing the welfare system has managed to do is to create a massive core of people who are now dependant on the state to survive with no willingness to work for it. In other words, a massive core of Labour voters, which was of course, the idea all along.Wake up people. Sat 05 Jul 2008 09:00:49 GMT+1 SensibleNorwegian The people who think withdrawing benefits to stop violent crime are clearly delutional. Norway has a better benefit system than the UK, but we don't have this problem with gangs and knife crime. It is clear that a lot of the killings have been committed by people who are drunk and/or high on drugs, so the 24 hour licensing law was cleary a big mistake. So is selling alcohol to ridiculously low prices on every corner. As someone else has laready pointed out, I can't help wondering what on earth these 15-16 year olds are doing out at all hours. I was NEVER allowed out to 2am when I was 16 (I am now 28). Clearly there is not much parental control going on with many of these kids. Fri 04 Jul 2008 22:47:45 GMT+1 ezziew Well, let's not confuse matters. Stabbings are far more common now. Not only that, but people's behaviour has changed. We know so many who no longer go out for a drink at the weekend, after 9pm, who don't use particular shops, who don't take their kids to the park after school....they avoid the 'yoofs' and have changed their lifestyle significantly. Their constant fear of being targeted, broken into or their own teen kids being attacked is overwhelming. We'd love to return to the UK, but here in Sydney, we feel safe and don't think twice about walking the dog late at night or having a late-night drink in the city. We don't understand why nothing is done. Obviously, you need to stop kids growing-up in a climate of dependancy - so cut the welfare. Stop supporting the loafers, whose kids then carry on this way of life. Hard for the first few years, but it just might save the community. Fri 04 Jul 2008 20:40:12 GMT+1 tarquin Good lad Mark, this was echoed by David Mitchell on Question Time as well - this panic over knife crime is a tabloid driven witch hunt, not all teenagers are hoodies about to stab you, but it sells papersAnd it's not good because it creates fear and knee jerk responses, as you point out this sort of thing is rare outside inner london and other cities - it's about inner cities and gang culture - calling for bans on knives, national service etc is an over-the-top senseless reaction that won't solve questions of poverty in the most deprived areas of Britain Fri 04 Jul 2008 18:02:09 GMT+1 neoapbaby Unless we have an honest debate on why most of this serious violence is perpetrated by black youths then the BNP will rise on this tide of political correctness gone mad.Even moderate people I know cannot understand how we stand by and let/fund this gang culture propagate in our country.Crimes are not knife or guns crimes, they are perpetrated by individuals, but no-one dare show the statistics on which individuals. Fri 04 Jul 2008 16:25:45 GMT+1 marimonster Does anyone reading this actually believe that we should not crack down with tougher penalties for knife crime? What possible reason do you have for carrying a concealed weapon around with you? If the reply is self-defense, do you really think that pulling a knife on someone else with a knife is likely to prevent you being attacked. In any case this is a morally relativist and illusory argument. Morally relativist because there should be NO reason to carry a concealed weapon on your person. Illusory because as we have seen in recent weeks, it's largely a lie. Most of the dead were killed when outnumbered by large groups of youths none of whom were under threat. when you give in to the self defence argument you are facilitating murder. Fri 04 Jul 2008 16:13:18 GMT+1 emzie655 regarding comments 34I dnt agree with name and shame the parents, these kids are old enough to do better, i do not doubt that some parents let there kids walk out with knives, but what about the ones that dont. Fri 04 Jul 2008 16:12:50 GMT+1 Nick Cooper Gary1968"Will it take a MP's child to be stabbed and to die before a law is rushed in and changed to, if your carrying a knife for ANY reason you WILL go to prison."As a child growing up in the 1970s, I and many of my peers regularly carried penknives. Never stabbed anyone, never got stabbed by anyone, and never heard of anyone I knew suffering either, although I did whittle a lot of sticks and various other innocuous activities. Clearly the problem is not that kids are carryoing knives, but rather what they think they are now carrying knives for, and a pointless blanket ban is not going to change that. More to the point, like all acts of prohibition, it will glamourise, rather than discourage. After all, we banned virtually all handguns ten years ago, and outlawed having what can still be legally owned in public, yet this clearly hasn't discouraged those who wish to misuse them. Fri 04 Jul 2008 16:11:14 GMT+1 PopFodder I am a little confused by your last paragraph, which appears to state that there was not a single reported teenage stabbing anywhere in central or south east England last year.18-year old Lewis Singleton was stabbed in Southampton at the end of March 2007. Perhaps he was not eligible for consideration, as his injuries were fatal and as such were not treated. Fri 04 Jul 2008 15:48:11 GMT+1 Alien8n Nice to see the usual knee jerk responses.Anyone enjoy camping? Fishing?Then you probably carry a knife. Go climbing or diving and you'll carry a knife. Even someone who does skydiving should be carrying a knife. The reason being a knife is a TOOL. Any tool can also be used as a weapon, how many people have been stabbed with screwdrivers? Hit with baseball bats? Are we going to ban DIY and sports? Fri 04 Jul 2008 15:09:59 GMT+1 Cloe_F Very interesting blogpost, thanks for that Mark. Puts last night's Newsnight etc reporting into perspective...Talking of NN, I see Peter_Sym has found a new home... Thanks for taking the latest JJ vitriols on the chin, Peter, it's such a relief to see someone who won't be sucked in by such hysterical lecturing. Fri 04 Jul 2008 14:56:29 GMT+1 beemoh Interesting stuff.Any chance the next Map Of The Week could be where knife and gun crime occurs? I'd like to cross-reference it with your Poverty maps from a bit ago.I've always thought there was some link between the two, it'd be nice to see some statistics to confirm or deny.Upthread, people mention urban music as 'glamorising' guns and knives- but there is also a major thread about 'getting out of the ghetto' running through just as much of it. Do the two go together? Fri 04 Jul 2008 14:45:23 GMT+1 Peter_Sym Gary1968 wrote:"Will it take a MP's child to be stabbed and to die before a law is rushed in and changed to, if your carrying a knife for ANY reason you WILL go to prison."The problem with that is that A) kids rarely get sent to prison and B) you'd end up with carpet fitters and anglers in jail and hoodies (under 18) still on the street.There are situations where carrying a knife is a quite reasonable thing to do.... just not down the pub. Fri 04 Jul 2008 14:33:27 GMT+1 dotconnect richie79 (#23)Excellent post. I hope plenty of BBC staff read it. Fri 04 Jul 2008 14:29:04 GMT+1 DagHammarskjold Very sensible analysis but how many stab or slash wounds go untreated? we'll never know obviously.A few weeks ago I was on a road off Beulah Crescent (where Shakilus Townsend died) it was daylight but I still felt uneasy (nothing like the sound of a recently broken into car's alarm going off to set the scene), glad I don't live there but I know there are places far worse. Also I don't feel any better knowing that London is safer than Rio De Janeiro, Detroit or Manila either, we used to compare ourselves with New York to make it seem better, then they cleaned up their act!Normally I like facts and figures that cut through the guff but it will be cold comfort for those affected. Fri 04 Jul 2008 14:24:45 GMT+1 gazzalw Although no one should expect to be stabbed at any time in any place why was SIXTEEN year old Ben Kinsella in a pub. And what was he doing out at 2am in the morning. How did the police find his killers so quickly? Did their parents turn them in because they were hding somewhere else in London when they were arrested. Rather than Boris saying 'run away' the message should have been 'If you kill someone with a knife we WILL find you and we WILL ensure that you are locked up for a very long time.' We also hear alll the interview with bereived parents and siblings but when is a parent of a knife killer going to have the bravery to go on national TV and apologise for the actions of their son? I think THAT is when the corner will be turned when a parent finally puts up his or her hands and says they are responsible for the childs actions. Fri 04 Jul 2008 14:20:10 GMT+1 marimonster Why are so many people congratulating this post? I suppose we are meant to applaud Mr Easton's great sobriety in using a statistical analysis versus the hysterical hacks of (shudder) tabloid newspapers. However, how long did it take to knock this together Mark? Did you set out to compile the data and then present your impartial conclusions? Presumably not, because in as equally simplistic a way as those who claim violent crime is increasing, you present one set of data on gun crime as if violent crime works on some inverse relationship between these two. I think it's pretty clear that you set out to "prove" that violent crime isn't rising and used the first set of helpful statistics. This is just the kneejerk reaction from journalists you're being sniffy about. More pertinantly, why do you object so much to public opinion being whipped up into a frenzy about these things? You won't see much political will to find a solution otherwise or do you really believe that violent crime is meandering along at such a reasonable level that current policies are sufficient? Again, I'm going to suggest an answer- it's clearly because you don't want the state to crack down on violent crime because you're scared that it will lead to the persecution of the (relatively) poor and minorities and as a good member of the left-liberal establishment that would offend your sensitivities. However, if you catch up with the rest of society, I don't believe that the public are baying for blood and want to hang these people up by their thumbs, they just want action and if the only way to get politicians to invest time, money and resources in trying to turn kids away from violence is to whip up a media frenzy is that such a bad thing? If it wasn't for the media frenzy about paedophilia for example we wouldn't have background checks on people working with children and although the extent of that can be debated, I think most of us would agree that it is broadly a good thing.Finally, coming on a day when two families are mouring their tortured, murdered and incinerated children, indicates you are dogmatic, insensitive and perverse. Fri 04 Jul 2008 14:11:00 GMT+1 rrwholloway I've never before read a more short sighted and ostrich like analysis of a problem.By using numbers admitted to hospital as a result of stab or gunshot wounds you are leaving out a huge variable in your statistics - the people who are threatened with a knife or a gun and do the sensible thing and run or do what the scum tell them to do (hand over something for the most part).These people won't have been physically harmed (thank goodness), but they will have still been victims of crime and will be affected by it.We have fostered the knife carrying gang problem for years and it will take years to fix it. Burying your head in the wrong statistics will only see more people die needlessly. Fri 04 Jul 2008 14:10:48 GMT+1 Pippyoak Interesting blog which makes me hope that at last 'we' are getting beyond the knee-jerk, instant cry of "Ban it" whenever there is a perceived problem, which in most cases has stiffled real discussion.The ban on guns has ensured that its only criminals who have them. A ban on knives is ridiculously unworkable and just makes knife carrying more glamourous. Guns and knives on their own do not kill people - even if we could wish them all away, other objects would be found.The real, real problems are much harder, deeper, complex and expensive to address; to give simple sticking-plaster solutions just shows the naivete of those in power. Fri 04 Jul 2008 13:45:17 GMT+1 gareth423 Nice article. I agree that the current trends don't necessarily spell the end of the world, but I would still like to challenge the author to walk around ANY town center throughout the country on a Friday/Saturday night for a couple of hours. I'll wager that even if you don't change your mind you'll need to change your trousers! By doing this I'm sure you wouldn't become one of the knife/gunshot statistics you rightly question, but I'm willing to bet you might be subject to one of the less reported crimes such as being insulted/harrassed or given a 'light' kicking. Fri 04 Jul 2008 13:44:54 GMT+1 averagewhite40 Something that constantly infuriates me is the ridiculous idea that kids turn to violence because there is nothing to do in their neighbourhood. This article pretty much dispels that fallacy, so thank you for that. When we used to get bored as kids we learned to play musical instruments or, in my case, fiddled with electronic stuff and computers to pass the time. At no point did any of us in my council-estate group of friends turn to violence no matter how bored we got. It is up to us as parents to bring our children up to feel loved for being themselves and to have a strong enough sense of self-esteem and even self-importance so they won't want to become gangsta clones.Stratt Fri 04 Jul 2008 13:29:55 GMT+1 tighey Hurrah - an article presenting the statistics that allows us to think about the information and form our own opinions. Thank you! Fri 04 Jul 2008 13:13:38 GMT+1 markc3108 knives and guns both kill.Yuong boys and girls should not be killed over an arguement or gang related issues.Laws should be passed to say, if you carry a knife, whatever your age, in the street, you will go to prison for 5 years.Sell someone a knife under age, send them to jail for 10 yearsStab someone, 15 yearsKill someone 25 yearsName and shame the parents, the situation is out of hand.Perhaps the reason why gun crime has reduced is the tougher laws that have been introduced. If strict laws are in place here for knives hopefully that will deter people from buying, carrying and using knives. Fri 04 Jul 2008 13:08:52 GMT+1 Nabil Hassani I think we have reached a tipping point in knife violence here. Sorry to say so as it is not very Politically Correct, but this trend now seems to have become fashionable in gang culture, with youths now having such phrases as "knifing someone" they do not like. The worrying trend might also be that some gangs and youths might now take it as a matter of pride in the number of people they knife, a bit akin to those jungler tribes who will carry as bracelets and necklaces the sets of teeth of their victims as proof of their valour.It could be that a street gang that does not have at least a knifing in their history is now considered "useless"...We might be seeing the beginning of a kind of urban warfare between gangs and the authorities.Deep down I believe there is a crisis of identity involded and a lack of of political leadership.These youth are lost, and criminals, fanatics and otherwise psychopaths are having a field day filling up the vacuum and recruiting them either on a nihilistic trip, or a money grabbing venture of drugs, prostution and larceny.Bring back on a valuable meaning in their lives before it gets fully out of control. No timid approach will do though, it has to be very involved and decisive with massive intervention at all social levels...Bleeding hearts steer clear or assume responsibility and complicity with every lifes that are lost!!! Fri 04 Jul 2008 13:07:23 GMT+1 Hastings AS more and more sensationalism drives the way these figures are reported, figures which are pretty small all told, what is going on in the background gets obscured or twisted.Not just the media, but the public, politicians and even many charities and organisations are treating this as a new problem - which it isn't.I remember stabbings and gangs with knives (gang members as low as 10 years old) when I worked in youth clubs in the late seventies and my father told similar stories about the 1920s.If we accept that this is an old problem, a very old problem, then maybe our way of approaching it may change and be less wrapped up in modern theories that are missing the point. Fri 04 Jul 2008 13:05:30 GMT+1 JTJ2008 I'm pleased that someone in the media has taken time to allay the fears being perpetuated by other members of the media.People seem to have forgotten that we there has been an increase in the population of the UK and more significantly in London during the last 10 years. Marks figures may suggest that knife crime per capita has probably decreased within that time. And therefore the probability of the average person, going about their daily lives being randomly stabbed has probably also decreased. I agree, the issues we are facing is around 'gang' / youth culture and what is to be done to change the prospects of the disaffected youths. Fri 04 Jul 2008 13:04:16 GMT+1 RightWingNutCase Re: Comment #17I think perhaps taking the justice system of a country which still employs public beheading as an example is a step firmly in the wrong direction.Good blog, the obsessive scaremongering and vilification of our youth by the tabloid press is depressing to watch.Rejuvination of communities and expansion of opportunities is required to steer people away from this lifestyle which can only be appealing when you have absolutely nothing else. Fri 04 Jul 2008 12:58:57 GMT+1 Gary1968 Great stuff Mark, i beleive that the goverment has lost all touch with what is going on in the real word, they seem to think we dont have a problem when it could not be more highlighted and spoke about as it has been over the last 12 months.Will it take a MP's child to be stabbed and to die before a law is rushed in and changed to, if your carrying a knife for ANY reason you WILL go to prison.This will never happen as its cost's money to keep people in prison, and it looks like the goverment value money of the good hard working people of the united kingdom.I am ashamed to say it, but i dont think the govermnet deep down care, if they did we would not have so many young children dead, and parents heart broken for life. Fri 04 Jul 2008 12:52:48 GMT+1 Chantil A very interesting article Mark.One thing I would be interested to know however... is what does the 72 (or 40%) cases in London look like when you calculate it as a rate? Per 1,000 people for example...How does this compare with other areas of the country?It's very easy to assume that London ahs a bigger problem than elsewhere in the country just because it has the largest proportion of cases, but it also has the largest population. Fri 04 Jul 2008 12:47:26 GMT+1 nogginthenog In a previous article Mark wrote about "Nudging"The perception that we the public cannot walk safely out of our homes is a classic case of how the media rules our lives and the way we think unquestioning of our world our neighbourhood and of our fellow citizens. Fri 04 Jul 2008 12:45:21 GMT+1 rsofox I have found the comments more interesting than the article. It amazes me that people aren't willing to accept this is a problem - mass media hysteria or not - everyday now you hear of more and more attacks and not just involving teens - look at the incident in New Cross on Sunday.There is a myriad of causes and therefore lots of different approaches to tackling this. However I'd like to see the government start by doing something tangible to start addressing it - it seems very vocal to push through 42 day detention anti terror laws. I'd like to see greater funding to the police and have more of them on the street - give them greater powers. CS officers are not respected and can do little to tackle any incidents. Visible and effective policing will teach kids that they can't carry these weapons and treat people however they like. Fri 04 Jul 2008 12:36:04 GMT+1 oliviadgrace A very clear, well-considered and well-written article. One question, as I don't know a great deal about statistics this may be irrelevant:If a person were to be stabbed and pronounced dead at the scene, would they be included in the 'admitted to hospital' statistic?I know this is more about comparing like for like, which is what the writer appears to have done, I am mostly just curious! Fri 04 Jul 2008 12:31:52 GMT+1 jon112uk I think we need to be a little sceptical of state sponsored statistics - he who pays the piper....I totally agree with one point you make, and have commented on this before.The risk is not evenly distributed.A few dozen incidents amongst a population of 60+ million is insignificant. Whether adult or child, the great majority of us have a very low risk of being mutilated by a rampaging hoody. In rural Leicestershire I think my risk is lower than being hit by lightning.But in some areas it really is a genuine threat. There are small areas where gangs change the behaviour of all the residents in that area. They influence the route you walk to the shop. They influence what hours of the day you are willing to walk the street. If you pretend the threat is not real and stand up to them then they genuinely will harm you.Personally, I dont think that anyone should have to live like that - even if that person is not me. Fri 04 Jul 2008 12:25:42 GMT+1 FatPeace - A Promise to Heather Frobnitz @ #11, I absolutely agree. And it's not just TV news bulletins, it's the Web, it's numerous 'magazine' current affairs shows (some of which, even on the BBC, can be astonishingly light on facts in order to provide the required 'chatty' style), even the fact that there are several free papers in distribution which didn't exist five or ten years ago and which tend to be very much skewed toward the right-wing, moral panic style of coverage. I'm glad Mr Easton has provided a more measured approach on here. But let's face it, it is not here that careful prose is needed. Many people who take the time to read around the news, who are familiar with blogs such as this probably already know that they're not going to get stabbed the second they set foot outside their door, just as they know that they're highly unlikely to die in a terrorist attack, that bird flu is not imminently coming to kill us all, that there will not in ten years be millions of teens dropping from obesity-related diseases, that not all children are feral caricatures from a Mad Max movie and that for all the impression of consensus, scientific opinion remains divided on the possible causes and degree of the impact of climate change - not to mention the most effective solution. The problem is that the mainstream news outlets, who are locked in a series of ratings battles with one another and who have too much time to fill and nowhere near enough sensationalist material with which to fill it, either realise this and don't care, or are wedded to the belief that only hysteria and panic keeps people coming back for more. Let's face it, most of what is considered worthy of being reported as news is bad news, and it therefore stands to reason that if that news is being reported more frequently, people's perceptions will inevitably be influenced by this. And the measure of our misinformed, fearfully reactionary culture can be gauged by skimming on HYS or for that matter any other open comments forum in the land. Fri 04 Jul 2008 12:13:47 GMT+1 Mr Confuzatron 16: "I've been assaulted twice by random gangs of "kids" in the last three years and it never happened prior to that. Is this a rising occurence?"Come come now. I'm sure you're mis-remembering. After all: excellent article, media hysteria, whatabout, Daily Mail etc etc etc. Fri 04 Jul 2008 12:08:50 GMT+1 Rogerborg Followup question: what's the predominant ethnic and cultural groups in these "urban" trouble spots?Are we interested in having that debate, or do we stop at just nodding our heads sagely, stroking our beards and intoning "Ah, Urbans. We must build more skateboard parks and then we can get back to reading the Gruaniad, our liberal consciences assuaged for another news cycle." Fri 04 Jul 2008 12:00:20 GMT+1 Millbrookblue Two points :-1. Do the stab stats inc murders as there have been widely reported knife murders in Hants last year yet you say there were no incidents?2. Over the last 5 years behaviour has changed with many inc myself becoming more risk-averse avoiding areas where teenagers congregate , therefore the stats should decline. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:54:49 GMT+1 DisgustedOfMitcham2 Excellent article, Mark. It makes a refreshing change to get past all the "shock horror" headlines and look at what's really happening.BTW, I'd be interested to know how these stats compare with the stats for children admitted to hospital as a result of road traffic crashes. Any chance of digging out some comparable figures? Could be very helpful in putting things in perspective. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:53:10 GMT+1 VinChainSaw Since the beginning of time older people in society have been lamenting the decline in moral values of the youth.Fact is that if you take away the media hysteria it's not actually such a big problem.Yes kids are dying but, with the exposure the media is giving the problem, not only are they making it worse by giving gangters coverage but they are also induces a public panic which is much larger than the problem at hand.The over-reaction is also a bit OTT as London is still safer than most large cities in the western world, with the council estates and poorer neighbourhoods being a little bit more dangerous. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:50:10 GMT+1 motawa I lived in Riyadh Saudi Arabia for 2 years working out on a project.The way they control teenagers in Saudi Arabia is by having a group of religious eldfers called Hayah's, who break up groups of youngsters/yobs.If the group fails to break up, there is a polieman with the religious police who is empowered to arrest. If arrest the youngsters face the prospect of caining. That is what we need here - some form of public flogging that will deter the most criminals of society.Will it get worst? In my opinion, YES, in the time of Moses, society was really bad, far more worst than it is today, we know this from history and it is going to get worst. Bring back capital punishment. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:50:05 GMT+1 jaypcoop An interesting article, but says very little that the majority of us didn't know. Teen violence isn't neccesarily increasing anywhere apart from in the media. What would be interesting is to understand violent crime as a whole. I know that crime in my town relating to violent incidents has increased and having been a doorman in the past saw a large increase in the ammount of people carrying weapone. Why carry a weapon on a night out? That's the mentality we are fighting against. I's also be keen to understand the numbers of attacks on adults by under 18's. I've been assaulted twice by random gangs of "kids" in the last three years and it never happened prior to that. Is this a rising occurence? Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:50:03 GMT+1 joemac58 A really clear, well-written article which does much to put the current hysteria into focus.But aren't your figures wrong on gunshot wounds? A drop in gunshot wounds from 253 to 181 isn't a drop of 68%. It's a drop of 28.4%. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:45:27 GMT+1 jinks-cider-stash After the tragic death of yet another teenager, 16 year old Shakilus Townsend, I have just heard on the radio the police chief in charge of the investigation (didn't catch the name) blaming this recent increase of violence among the young people on the LICENSING LAWS. He claims that the ease in which people can access alcohol today is the single most important factor contributing to the rise of knife, and gun, crime.I sincerely respect the police today, they are face with a difficult job under increasingly tough and political circumstances but surely this has to the lazy piece of police work I have seen. Before we investigate the conditions in which these crimes occur, why not start at the beginning – why are children and young people carrying weapons in the first place. This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH LICENSING LAWS.Gang or Gangsta culture and the glorification of violence and weapons as a means to an ends has certainly played a role. Anything from Scarface to F’ddy Cent can rightfully share a portion of the blame to the situation we now find ourselves in. You only have to see that silly girl on Big Brother to understand how deeply routed this culture is in some parts of our society. The biggest excuse given to the question ‘why do you carry a weapon?’ is always ‘for protection’. Ashamedly, as a weapon carrying youth myself, I can say this is total nonsense. The actual reason for carrying a weapon is simply as a status symbol, it’s so you can tell other people you’re carrying and that you’re not a person to be messed with. The protection fallacy is simply to try an earn sympathy.There is no quick fix to this problem, and dare I say, it will perhaps get worse before we see it getting better. The protest that was sparked by the unfortunate death of Ben Kinsella is a good start, it shows that many young people are starting to realise that it isn’t ‘cool’ to carry a weapon (although I do believe protests by children and young people should always take place at the weekend rather than a school day, it shows more belief in the cause if you do it in your own time). I do, however, that this problem will not simply be solved by attacking licensing laws.Rant over, thanks Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:41:39 GMT+1 Peter_Sym #2 "Besides which, all the stats you quote involve teen-on-teen violence - have you considered the massive increase in teen-on-adult violence too?"That rather depends on if you see any difference at all between a 17 year old teenager killing a 19 year old adult versus a 17 year old teenager killing a 16 year old teenager.Personally I think the distinction between 'child' and 'adult' has blurred into being meaningless and our courts should stop treating people a few days short of their 18th birthday will unjustifiable lenience. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:39:10 GMT+1 synthiem Thank goodness for some common sense Mark. Poverty, low expectations and being society's class and race rejects has more to do with disaffection than the assumed bad families. Many of these kids have good parents who are at their wits' end because they have to work all the hours god sends in low paid jobs just to make ends meet. And if you don't think race makes a difference to how society treats you, then read the Wanless report on race and education. I am white and 'middle' class and have a mixed race daughter and I've seen it all at first hand. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:33:46 GMT+1 Frobnitz Violence and crime are probably decreasing, but our awareness of those that occur is increasing due to the increasing amount of media time to give attention to the stories.30 years ago, the News was on TV for about three 20 minute bulletins per day - now with 24hour coverage - and add in the desire for news to be as compulsive viewing as possible - there is a lot more coverage of these issues. This leads to the perception - probably incorrectly - that crime is increasing.Maybe the media should address the way they report such things so as to give the public the correct impression? Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:33:44 GMT+1 Jock It makes a nice change to see the use of facts in the reporting of juvenile violence.Is it not the case though that we have seen a rise in the reporting of teenage knifings due the fact that there have been a larger number of white middle class victims. As the majority of knife crime is committed upon those for a more deprived background, it rarely makes the news, and if the victim happens to live outside of London it never makes the news.Undoubtedly most of the comments you’ll receive to this article will be from the usual “impartial” posters blaming Labour for all crime and denouncing you figures as lies, but if the BBC can stick to fact based journalism it should go some way to countering this media hysteria. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:29:23 GMT+1 CarolineOfBrunswick People getting a misleading impression from the "national" media giving too much importance to what happens in London? Journalists unable to interpret statistics?Is anyone surprised??_______By the way, the data in the spreadsheet link ("gunshot wounds") say in that in 2002/03 there were at least 3 (maximum 15) under 16 residents of the South East of England Region (now South Central and South East Coast Strategic Health Authorities) admitted to hospital with stab wounds. In 2006/07 it was between 2 and 10.Its a confidential asterisk, not a zero. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:26:35 GMT+1 Nick Cooper Mark Easton is to be congratulated for this blisteringly clear illustration what really is going on with teen violence. As in most matters, the situation is more complex - but in no way confusingly complicated - than the scare-story headlines the press prefers.would be wrong to Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:20:02 GMT+1 RandalCousins Funny how the BBC is suddenly all concerned about statistical significance. Where was all this rigour when the BBC was cheerleading the moral panic following freak incidents of killings with legally owned guns by nutters, as in Hungerford and Dunblane?Answer: it was nowhere in sight because it suited them to whip up the hysteria, because they pretty much all agreed with the proposed solution - restriction of gun ownership to criminals.And as a result, my inherent and inalienable right to defend myself and my family with weapons of my choosing has been unjustifiably suppressed, just because a majority in this country are bullying cowards who see no problem with trampling on the rights of others just to make themselves feel safer.For the avoidance of doubt - we do have the right to defend ourselves against violence with any means necessary. Nobody has the right to override that just because it feels nicer for them. "Feeling comfortable" is not a right. Self defence is.And while it's nice that Easton has noticed that most violent crime using weapons is committed by nasty inner city thugs rather than respectable well brought up kids, I bet he doesn't ever comment on the same situation in the US - that gun killings there are overwhelmingly committed by nasty inner city thugs (or in self-defence against them) and that many equivalent areas to the "central and south east England outside London" in the US are absolutely swarming with legally owned guns and yet experience virtually no violent crime. Because that might suggest that gun ownership is not the problem, but the solution, at least for those willing to take it up. And for those who prefer not to, but rather rely on the police turning up to take notes long after they or their family have been mugged, raped or murdered ? Their choice - just so long as they don't seek to impose it on others. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:19:42 GMT+1 celaycock An interesting view, Mark. I happen to be of the opinion that statistics aren't worth the paper they're written on. As you've illustrated here, all it takes is a slight twisting or spin on a stat to give it a totally different meaning - ten percent of cats hate a certain kind of cat food.What is important, though, is that the government takes action to lower ALL youth violence - not just knife crime. At the heart of it, I suspect, bad parenting is to blame - and how does one solve a problem as pandemic as that? Certainly not by throwing money at it. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:02:30 GMT+1 tone1201 Shome mishtake shurely in making a drop in the number of gunshot wounds from 253 to 181 equal "a fall of 68%" ? Don't you mean 28%? Rather undermines the reader's confidence in the rest of the analysis, don't you think, when even a momentary inspection shows a key percentage is clearly wrong? Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:02:20 GMT+1 dotconnect Thank you for a calm and measured analysis, Mark. Let's hope the reactionary Have Your Say mob don't make their way over here, attributing things to you that you've not said, and generally over-simplifying.Far too many people nowadays allow themselves to get whipped up into a panic by hysterical reporting, whether it's about crime or Muslims, and don't stop to ask the right questions. Clear and rational explanations of a complex and messy reality are desperately needed, not least when it comes to the reporting of crime. It's good that you're able to provide that. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:01:28 GMT+1 Peter_Sym A gunshot wound is almost always more severe than a knife wound as gunshots can cause 'cavitation' injuries some distance from the actual wound. As a result more gunshot victims die. If there's a fall in gun wounds and a rise in knife attacks then overall less people should be dying. Fri 04 Jul 2008 11:00:00 GMT+1 Lazarus Yes, everything's fine because the statistics say so! Keep that head in the sand!This whole issue only becomes one when it affects us personally, and when it doesn't we'd rather react with denial.Besides which, all the stats you quote involve teen-on-teen violence - have you considered the massive increase in teen-on-adult violence too? Or hasn't there been a study done into it to provide more manageable soundbites and statistics on that yet, meaning the problem doesn't exist.Restoring order to the streets of this country is going to be a truly massive challenge requiring time, investment, a willingness of those in power to allow the police to police instead of making them glorified secretaries forever chasing targets set by unelected quangos who's experience of the UK's rougher estates is limited to a passing glance at the TV and fuelled by idealistic nonsense. Fri 04 Jul 2008 10:55:21 GMT+1 GrumpyRJP Good blog Mark - been waiting for someone to say something sensible on this Fri 04 Jul 2008 10:51:53 GMT+1