Youth crime has always been with us in London but has become more topical in recent times because of the increased levels of death and serious injuries involving young people. Youth crime has escalated from the use of fisticuffs to more violent acts of stabbing and shooting as the ‘modus operandi’ to settle most arguments and disagreements. Now the must-have accessories are more often than not, knives and guns and possession is often fuelled by gangs, drugs, honour and respect issues.
The perpetrators of these severe forms of crime are getting younger by the day. Young people are trying to formulate their own ways of dealing with the bullies; they carry knives because they think they will look tough and this will be a deterrent. It is no longer cool to report this to their parents or the right authorities because their perception is that the authorities cannot protect them. Instead they seek protection in gangs where peer pressure is exerted on them through the initiation, honour and loyalty to the gang and end up ready to avenge wrongs done to their collective or prove how tough they are – a vicious herd instinct comes into play.
The problems with carrying guns and knives is that there is a high probability that they will be used and once this happens the problems escalates for all in the community. The irony is that the perpetrators of knife crimes are also more likely to be victims of crime themselves.