Knife crime will not be tackled unless the government addresses the underlying causes of violence and fear, according to a report from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King’s College London, published today.
The report, Knife Crime, states that “inequality, poverty and social disaffection” are key structural causes of knife-related offences.
It argues that the government must address the underlying causes of “violence, fear and insecurity” to tackle knife crime, instead of strengthening enforcement or punishments, such as giving out harsher sentences.
Researchers from the report described knife crime as a expression of “interpersonal violence”.
The report reviews current evidence and policy, building upon the first edition of the report, published in August 2006.
It identifies a link between carrying a knife and being a victim of a crime or feeling unsafe within a community. Also, children and young people from poor areas and from black and ethnic minorities are more likely to be victims of knife crimes.
Roger Grimshaw, research director at the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, said: “Because knives are a part of everyone’s lifestyle, their role in offending tells us something about the tensions and fears in society.
“The available evidence about knife use in offending shows it to be a stubborn problem that requires more attention to the causes of conflict, instead of frantic law-making.”