The Flavasum Trust produced a short survey about knife crime in 2008. We did this because we had been coming into contact with a lot of young people and wanted to find out what views they had about carrying knives.
The first survey took place at “Walk Free… Respect Life”, an
anti-gun, knife and gang crime event organised by Twice as Nice at the
Damilola Taylor Centre on Saturday 29 March 2008.
Seventy-four young people answered the questions, in return for a
free Twice as Nice “Peace Tree” promo CD. Some key findings are:
58% didn’t feel safe on London’s streets, the highest percentage being those aged 11 and under;
25% of those aged 17 to 24 years had been threatened with a knife;
48% reported that their families had been directly affected by knife crime;
68% had friends who had been affected by knife crime;
70% thought that young people believe it’s OK to carry knives, and 100% of those aged 17 to 24 years;
50% had been stopped and searched by the police, on average 3 times each;
75% of those who had bought a knife were not asked their age;
67% of knife owners had carried them on the street, and half of these had taken them into school.
The second survey was at the Tottenham Festival and Carnival at Bruce Grove, N17, on Saturday 21 June. The results of this survey are being analysed.
The NCH, the children’s charity, published Step inside our shoes
in April 2008, a survey involving 800 young people across the UK.
Although the questions were slightly different, the results are
48% of NCH respondents did not feel safe in their community, compared to 55% from our survey;
63% of NCH respondents stated that a main reason they felt young people got involved in gun and knife crime was to protect themselves. 70% of our respondents thought young people believed it was OK to carry knives;
29% of NCH respondents said they had been affected by gun and knife crime, compared to 48% from our survey in an Inner London borough;
41% of NCH respondents knew somebody who had been personally affected, compared to 68% in our survey.
This is clear evidence of systemic failure that must be acted on by
government. As called for by the NCH, we also believe that sustainable
funding has to be put in place for services to reach out and engage
young people who are caught up in weapons crime.