Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Death Knives Violence London & the UK - which I have had to study to survive.

This is an article about young people and violence which I have been midst of over many years - and have had to study to survive.


The past week illustrates just how particular London can be and how the lens of those who live there can distort our view of the national landscape. 
On Thursday the Office for National Statistics released figures for England and Wales reporting a general rise in crime, prompted by changes in recording procedures, and a "small but genuine increase in high-harm but small-volume violent crime", including knife crime. 

That very day a man was found in Dulwich park, in south-east London, in the early afternoon with stab wounds to his head after he tried to stop a robber from stealing a woman's purse. 
He is now in a critical condition. Six people have been stabbed to death in the capital in the past week, leaving Londoners with the impression that they are I in the midst of a brutal crime wave and searching for answers. 

The demographic of patients is changing from a night-time activity involving drugs and a dark alley to attacks in broad daylight. It's no longer. unusual to go to stabbings of schoolchildren outside of their schools in daylight hours;' Dr Gareth Davies, London Air 
Ambulance medical director, told.the London Evening Standard last week. 
London accounts for roughly 15% of the population of England and Wales, but for 28% of the latest rise in knife crime, and more than a third of all the children and teens killed by knives that we have been tracking this year for the Guardian's Beyond the Blade series. 

The profile of the young people killed in London this year, however, is very different from those who have died elsewhere in the country. Fourteen children and teens have been killed by knives across Britain so far this year. Of those, five have been in London, the rest have all been in England. The average age of the children killed outside London is 12; a third of them are girls; eight are white and one is Asian. The average age of those killed in London is 18; they are all boys and they are all black. 

This in part explains why, even though most of the young people killed by knives this year are white, the term "knife crime" is only used in the national press when referring to the deaths of black youth: the national press 
is based in London, where the victims are more likely to be black. (The regional press, conversely, often refers to "knife crime" with non-black victims. 

Either way, this raises a series of important questions. To what extent, when it comes to knife crime, should we be having at least two conversations - one about the capital and one about elsewhere? 
Given that only about 57% of the country's black population lives in London, is there something about how race, class, crime and masculinity play out in London that makes black kids more vulnerable there? 
And so long as what should be a national conversation focuses on race and culture, too few are talking about white youth at risk or looking to learn from the rest of the UK.