‘Children feel peers are armed’: why the UK’s knife attacks are relentless

It has become a familiar cycle to many now: a spate of fatal stabbings, tragic stories of young lives lost, calls for more police, a government minister responds, the violence abates, media reports settle, repeat. The most recent fatal stabbings – claiming the lives of 17-year-olds Jodie Chesney and Yousef Makki – have seen that cycle kickstart again. There have been 10 teenagers and children killed so far in 2019, after 37 were killed in 2018, and 39 in 2017. It is hard to predict whether the number killed in 2019 will match the peak of 2007, when 48 children aged 19 and under were killed by use of knives. This is because knife-related deaths tend happen in clusters, and are not evenly spread throughout the year. Richard Garside, the director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, said the clusters are both geographical and temporal. “It tends to come in little bursts. Retaliation is a factor with turf wars going on. These short bursts are a feature of knife violence.
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