Going into detail... Part 2: Why is knife/property crime increasing?

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Previously, in the Burnet news club, we have been given some very interesting questions that i was intrigued about. Some of the questions I will be covering today will involve: Are criminals born or made? Is there victimless crimes? Why is knife crime increasing? And lastly, why would a young person decide to join a gang? These questions made me wonder if i could get the correct answer, so today i will be gathering some evidence to support my opinion.

Today we will be discussing why knife/ property crime is increasing:

Firstly, what is knife/ property crime? Many people have different beliefs as to what knife crime is and how it affects others however the definition is: ‘’Criminal offences committed using a weapon (knife, gun etc.)’’

To begin with, whilst violent crime is decreasing, knife and property crime is doing the opposite. To start with, there are many different types of weapons you could use for property crime such as knifes, guns, sharp instruments, firearms and many more. Over time, knife crime has been increasing, (Statistics show that offences including knifes has risen by over 11% over the same period.) Now this made me question, why has knife crime risen? There were many results involving property crime, but the main result was that knifes especially are very accessible. This also made me wonder, if guns are accessible as well as in America you can buy and sell guns. By accessible, knifes are found everywhere whether that be in a shop or in a warehouse, you are guaranteed to find a knife. This makes it easier for criminals to buy knifes and commit crimes. Critics argue that, knifes shouldn’t be sold everywhere however they also argue the purpose of the use of the knife. By this I mean, they must argue whether you are using the knife for legal purposes instead of not abiding by the law. It is very difficult to determine what someone is going to do with the weapon. In many knife crime situations, there have been many people who have tried to plead innocent despite using the weapon against its purpose. It is illegal to carry any knife, even if your motive was to use it for a legal purpose. The police are now allowed to arrest you if they find you in possession of a knife. However, the government has introduced a law that you must be over 18 in order to buy a knife. Many statistics show that, young people used to buy knives in order to feel safe, or if something did happen, they could use it in order to protect themselves. Young people are usually arrested for knife crime and there are many reasons why, such as if the young person is in a gang, they may be pressured to use a knife in order to please the other members. On the other hand, if young people are introduced to knife crime they may be influenced and use a knife due to their wellbeing and how they were brought up. Furthermore, graphs show that in the year 2011, using a sharp object for murder was the most popular option.

Amongst accessibility, there are many reasons as to why someone would murder someone with a knife or a weapon. In crime cases, they must value the motive and relationship. There are many reasons as to why someone might want to hurt/ murder someone else. For example, two or more people could be having a dispute and they are all impacted negatively so one or more of them could try to murder them as they have had a disagreement. Previously, I have discussed some biological components of criminals so it could be the same with criminals involved in knife crime. Within knife crime, we also must look at the media representations of knife crime to see how the newspapers and companies view knife crime. The media portrays knife crime as terrible and unlawful, however this made me wonder if there is more detail to what they are saying. From a recent burnet news club video, I saw that mostly black men and women were both accused and murdered due to knife crime. According to data, around 75% of knife crime fatalities were from people with white backgrounds. So therefore, the evidence from both sites contradict each other. However, on a few of the famous newspapers (The guardian, the economist and the sun.) knife crime was based in London. For example, the news article ‘’ Irresponsible reporting of knife crime 'alienating young people'’ suggests that only two out of the nine people accused in London are black. So, I assume that it depends on which area you are in rather than what ethnicity you are. Another reason for knife crime increasing is that there have been police budget cuts which essentially means that the police do not have enough money to deal with the amount of crime that is happening now.

Websites I have used: Criminology book by Tim Newburn, https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/compendium/focusonviolentcrimeandsexualoffences/yearendingmarch2016/offencesinvolvingtheuseofweapons, https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2017/mar/28/irresponsible-reporting-of-knife-alienating-young-people and https://www.burnetnewsclub.com/issues/violent-crime/the-discussion/video-discussion-violent-crime-behind-headlines/.

Comments (3)

  • Tiff-Avatar.jpg Tiff @ the BNC
    29 Jan 2019

    Hi powerful_robin,

    You make a good point that it would be very difficult to completely ban knives as they are used in day to day life.

    You seem to think that most people carry a knife with the intention of using it. Is this always the case? Why might some people feel under pressure to carry a knife?

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    1. Ormiston-Park-logo-250x250.jpg powerful_robin | Ormiston Park Academy
      Tiff @ the BNC's comment 29 Jan 2019

      Firstly, thank you very much for the star! Now, I shall explain. I believe that some people may have different reasons to carry sharp objects. Some people may feel under pressure to carry a knife if they live in a dangerous neighbourhood or they don’t feel safe. For example, someone is walking home by themselves in the dark, they may feel obliged to carry a knife to protect themselves if something did happen. For example, some people may just carry a knife that they need for cooking and they are bringing it home. As a result, people may not have any intention to use a knife but in some cases they may carry one to feel safe. Then, there is some background information. According to statistics, self-fulfilling prophecy is about labelling people and assuming what people are. This, in fact, is very important as throughout the news criminals are being judged based on either what they look like or because of their behaviour. There is also primary and secondary labelling within self-fulfilling prophecy, (Primary labelling is when someone makes an assumption about someone else whereas secondary labelling is where they might do it more than once.) Therefore, in this case people are being demonized because of their behaviour. Critics suggest that a person’s master status, (Their friends and their forms of conduct) may assist in making them into a criminal. (Becker, 1965, p.224) This prophecy shows that the more people are told something, they start to believe it so the young person in question may be under pressure as they do not feel safe so they carry a knife. Furthermore, relative deprivation also suggests the reality of criminals and that it is unrealistic to suggest that most crimes are mis-understood and that there is more detail to crime on the streets then we may interpret. (Jock young, 1975, p.270) For instance, in this situation there may be more depth to knife crime and why it is increasing and also how people carry or do not carry knives. There is also a study by Charles Murray and the underclass which suggests that some classes of people are poorer and more unfortunate then others so this could shape their life and what choices they decide to make. He, in addition, suggests that their behaviour defines who they are. He, in addition, explains how people are impacted by what they see. (Murray, 1990, p279.) For example, a young person could be seen as a criminal because of their surroundings. Even though, crime overall, is decreasing, it is seen that some young people want to rebel to show that they can, essentially, avoid abiding by the law and to show that they may even commit a crime without acknowledging the consequences.
      Sources I have used:
      Charles Murray, The Emerging British Underclass, London: IEA Health and Welfare Unit, MVA and Miller, J. (2000) Profiling Populations available for stops and searches, Police research, Group Paper 131, London Home Office.
      Jock Young, (1997), ‘left realist criminology’ radical in its analysis, realist in its policy’, Maguire, M Morgan R, and Reiner. R, The oxford handbook of criminology, 2nd ed, oxford: Oxford University Press.
      Stanley Cohen, ‘Juvenile Delinquency’ in Merton, R. and Nisbet, Contemporary Social Problems, New York: Harcourt, Brace and world.
      -Statistics from the Criminology book by Tim Newburn.

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  • Olivia-Avatar.jpg Olivia @ the BNC
    30 Jan 2019

    Fantastic research! Lots of these texts are studied in A Level Sociology, so if you are interested to find out more about it you may want to speak to the Sociology department at your school!

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