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 Government Combats ‘Knife Culture’

June 06, 2008 11:45 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A rise in knife crimes and some high-profile stabbings have led Britain to lower the age limit for knife possession charges and launch expensive antiknife media campaigns.

30-Second Summary

British youth age 16 and over in England and Wales will now be taken to court if found carrying a knife, reported The BBC on Thursday.

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."

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 of a 'knife culture,’" wrote Haroon Siddique last month 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. The teenagers who die in knife fights on the streets receive similar eulogies. Is the same chain reaction at work?"

Headline Links: 'Knife prosecution age limit cut'

Video: Antiknife TV campaign

Background: 'UK is knife crime capital"

Opinion & Analysis: 'Have you carried a knife?'

Related Topic: Knife crime in Canada


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