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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

knife crime

Up to 60,000 young people, mostly male, may be stabbed and injured each year, the equivalent of more than 160 victims a day, according to a worst-case estimate for knife violence in England and Wales.
On the other hand, the figure may be around 22,000 each year for victims aged 10 - 25-year-old.
The different between the two estimates - derived from the questioning of around 600 under-25s about whether they had been "knifed or stabbed", and then extrapolated to the wider population, with all the statistical vagaries that entails - reflects the lack of precise information about the scale of knife crime in England and Wales.
It is also unclear whether knife crime is going down or up. Available official statistics suggest it has fallen since the mid-1990s, but the Government concedes the limited figures are far from reliable.
The death of Adam Regis, aged 15, at the weekend, and the stabbing of Kodjo Yenga, a 16-year-old, last week do little to dispel the perception that knife violence is a major problem, though it remains the case that knife murders - for which there are reliable figures - are rare.
John Reid, for once eschewing the promise of instant legislation, acknowledged the gaps in the picture yesterday when he committed the Home Office to collecting better statistics on the use of knives in crime.
New laws - or perhaps another knife amnesty - would probably have little effect. Knife crime has grown in the last three decades despite the passage of various laws. Last year's Violent Crime Reduction Act banned the sale of knives to anyone under 18.
It was already an offence under the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 to have an offensive weapon in a public place; this includes ''any article made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use by him or by some other person''.

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