Waterloo, London: Tsehainesh Medhani, left, the mother of murdered teenager Arsema
Dawit, is comforted by her niece, Mili Isak. Dawit was stabbed up to 10 times on June 2
in the elevator of the apartment building where she lived with her family. (AP)

British Teens Continue Stabbing Each Other to Death

July 20, 2008 12:16 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
With a surge of young people carrying knives in Great Britain, teen deaths on London’s streets continue despite increased government efforts to curb the “knife culture.”

30-Second Summary

Crimes involving knives are up drastically in Britain, and the average age of the offenders is getting younger. Scotland Yard Deputy Assistant Commissioner Alf Hitchcock described “a worrying change in the age profile of offenders and victims, which has decreased … down to early to mid-teens.”

The BBC reported in June that efforts to curb the trend of knife crimes among Britain's youth included the prosecution of anyone 16 and over found carrying a knife. The British government has also launched massive antiknife media campaigns for TV, radio and Internet to try to deter youth from participating in what is being called a burgeoning “knife culture.”

The continued stabbings among teens on Britain’s streets—often in broad daylight—have some experts describing knives as the latest necessity for young people; some sport them for fashion purposes, while others wear them for protection.

A study of 28 countries found last year that 13 percent of violent crime victims in England and Wales had been stabbed or threatened with a knife, according to The Times of London.

The recent fatal stabbing of 18-year-old actor Robert Knox, who appears in the upcoming movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, has brought further attention to the phenomenon.

But despite growing public concern, some Brits wonder whether the numbers really add up. “This is certainly not the first time that the issue of young people carrying—and using—knives has hit the headlines, but a glut of high-profile murders in a relatively short space of time has heightened fears,” wrote Haroon Siddique in the Guardian.

The Economist compares the knife craze to a recent rash of youth suicides in the Welsh town of Bridgend. “Emotional tributes and alarmist news coverage are now believed to have provided unwitting encouragement, by adding romance to the miserable business of dying young.”

Headline Link: ‘Britain grapples with surge in knife attacks’

Video: Antiknife TV campaign

Background: British knife crimes rise; government takes action

Opinion & Analysis: ‘Have you carried a knife?’

Related Topic: Knife crime in Canada


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