Gang rivals and violent youth culture have led to an increase in violent knife crimes across the globe. In order to understand this knife-carrying culture, the BBC undertook an investigation to find out what lies at the root of the resurgence of this type of crime.
In many countries, violent crime is down in recent years, but concerns remain about the level of knife crime that persists. In Spain, for example, a BBC correspondent notes that ethnic gangs in the cities are the greatest worry, but they tend to stick to firearms. Some reports indicate a rise in knife violence among the youth specifically, but official statistics do not reflect a significant trend. In the U.S., despite an appreciable drop in violent crime in the city of New York in recent decades, its image as a major center for urban violence persists. Finally, Russia has reported that violent crime in Moscow has decreased by a third in 2008, but that skinhead gangs and hate crimes have taken over a new niche with knife-related incidents.
Japan, however, is a country that has seen its level of violent crime grow, and knife violence has played a significant role in that increase. While crime in Japan remains relatively minimal, several gory public stabbings have led to an outcry against knife crime, which increased by 40% in 2007. Some are demanding that double-edged knives, popular thanks to their use in video games, be outlawed.
So, while gun violence overwhelmingly dominates the public debate here in the United States, the knife-carrying cultures in many other countries have warranted growing concern internationally. The BBC sums up the modern scourge of violent crime, summarizing the ideas of French criminologist Alain Bauer:
“Western societies are all caught in a similar pattern of youth violence, which… is linked to a collapse of confidence in authority.”
Closer to home, we are witnessing unprecedented numbers of violent knife crimes, particularly in areas where there is known gang activity. There was reportedly a decrease in gun violence but a marked increase in knife crimes in the Cape Flats during the occupation of the SANDF recently.
Although violent crime is still higher in South Africa and mostly perpetrated using firearms, violent knife crime is becoming an everyday occurrence across the UK, with London suffering the most. Shockingly, figures reveal that crime is now rising faster in the UK than in South Africa, with knife crime the biggest reason for this surge.
Source: The BBC