Violence amongst the younger generation of the country has been at the forefront of the news for some time; including the epidemic of knife crime and gang-related issues occurring particularly across the capital. Steering young people away from crime is a hugely important task, with everyone from the government to community-based charities doing something to help prevent youth violence.
There is a growing pattern that the areas in which young people lack opportunities are the same areas that experience a higher level of crime and other related behaviours. Last year alone, 10-17 year olds were responsible for 21% of disposals given for the possession of a knife or other offensive weapon. This is something that has been a problem for some time; back in 2012-2013, there were just under 100,000 proven offences perpetrated by the same age bracket. There were also around 28,000 first time entrants to the youth justice system.
Knife crime, in particular, is at its highest over the last 8 years, with some of it coming down to the notorious gang culture found in parts of the country. London, in particular, is experiencing a huge problem in knife crime. So, how do you set about preventing it?
Trying to prevent youth violence in UK cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester can seem like an overwhelming concept. Early intervention has been cited as one of the more effective ways; in other words, becoming involved in prevention before someone has even had a chance to be associated with any sort of violence.
This comes mostly down to education and opportunity, particularly for those who are more vulnerable and most likely to be influenced into committing a criminal offence. Many charities and other organisations work at community level to integrate as many local people as possible, including the likes of youth clubs and schools.
Offering support and opportunity
Many young people will turn to gangs and crime as a result of lacking resources in their local area, leading to frustration and boredom. It can often start with anti-social behaviour and being a nuisance, gradually escalating to something much more serious. What’s more, the young population also fear attacks and bullying themselves, leading to the idea of needing to protect themselves.
With this in mind, improved support and education opportunities could be a necessary step in reducing the amount of youth violence in our cities. Educational workshops that teach new skills can be a driving factor in reducing crime, whether it’s through keeping young people off the streets or by helping them to see their own potential. Workshops, inspirational talks and even sporting events can all play a part in helping the young generation to follow a different path.
Local communities can come together to support initiatives, and provide positive influences for children and young adults.
Whether it’s a school, youth club or charity, everyone has a part to play in reducing youth crime. Providing young people with the chance to enhance their self-worth is priceless, and can ensure they are on the right path towards a good education and a fulfilling career.