Why do people riot? An expert's view on violence

  • 11 August 2011

Sonali's been chatting to Professor Clive Bloom who is an expert on why people riot.

Why do you think these riots are happening?

If you look around the country there are lots of places that are very poor and kids don't have much to do - they don't feel they have much of a future and they feel left out.

So they're going around stealing, they feel the gang culture gives them a better identity and makes them feel good. So they go out and steal and maybe set fire to cars, to get power.

Are a lot of them in gangs, egging each other on?

I certainly think there are a number of gangs involved, egging each other on to see how much better they can do and how much more they can steal.

Is this copycat violence?

Yes, copycat violence is watching things on the TV and watching things on YouTube and thinking: "We could do this".

What's going through the minds of people doing this?

I think the people doing this are just criminals, hooligans, yobs.

There's probably not a lot going on in their minds apart from "What can I wear and what can I get to go out on the streets with my friends and show off?"

Why aren't these kids scared of being caught?

These kids are not scared of the police. They don't have the sense of authority of school or parents that other groups might do.

Is there a way to solve this problem?

It's going to take a lot education, a lot of welfare and a lot of care to change the attitudes of these young people.