A new study published by the British Medical Journal found that under-16s are at the highest risk of getting stabbed on their way home from school. “The period immediately after school accounts for a large proportion of [stabbing] incidents in children, and these predominantly occur close to home and school,” said the report led by Paul Vulliamy from the Centre for Trauma Sciences at Queen Mary University of London.
This research follows a week of violence in London. At least five people have been stabbed to death in London this week. On Monday evening a 16-year-old was stabbed to death in front of his parents, with friends describing him as “bubbly” and “polite”.
The BMJ wrote that the highest frequency of stabbings on under 16-year-olds occurred between 4 pm and 6 pm and within 5km of their school and their home.
There has been a major shift towards younger victims over the past few decades. The graph on the left is from a 1987 paper from East London (https://t.co/EWSsvwHYFa), on the right is from our paper today pic.twitter.com/wpkeC5alqB
— Paul Vulliamy (@Paulvulliamy) November 7, 2018
The research highlights the reduction in violence in cities such as Glasgow and attributes more aggressive law enforcement and a range of educational and behavioural programmes that aim to raise awareness of knife violence.
Knife crime has been the biggest issue for the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. When asked at the London Assembly what he had done to help end the crisis, he refered to the £1 billion put into the Metropolitan police, the funding gone into the Violent Crime task force and the set up of the Violence Reduction Unit.
£1bn of cuts has been forced on the Met since 2010. At City Hall we've invested in our police, funded the @metpoliceuk Violent Crime Taskforce & set up our Violence Reduction Unit.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) November 6, 2018
However, speaking to BBC Radio 4, Khan said that significant progress in knife crime could take 10 years. He said that children are comfortable carrying knives because “It gives them a sense of belonging” and “they see nothing wrong in getting involved in this sort of behaviour.”
The lead researcher of the study said, “We can reduce knife violence and unnecessary child deaths, but need long term evidence-based interventions in education, policing, the community and at home”.
Words: Sorcha Gilheany Subbing: Fiona Patterson