blogger / July 16, 2008

Worldwide Knife Crime Survey

To diversify our posts on violent crime, which have focused on notable gun control cases in recent months, the Fastcase Blog today follows trends in knife crimes around the world. According to the BBC, violent knife crimes have been up drastically in the UK, thanks to gang rivalries and a violent youth culture. This week, the BBC investigates the knife carrying culture in several other countries, in an effort to find the roots of its tragic resurgence in Britain.

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.”

Source: The BBC

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