UK: Father of 4 declares war on knife crime

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – The number of crimes involving knives or other sharp instruments in the U.K. has shown a steep rise in 2019.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that crimes of this nature increased over the past 12 months from 41,000 to 44,000.

The knife crime is an endemic problem for the U.K. but the statistic figures suggest that London is the main contributor for the rise.

The number of deaths by knife in London has been a news focus as the number of murders hit a record high in 2018 with 132 such deaths and it is not far from that very number in 2019. The number of people who were stabbed to death is close to reach the last year’s levels as more than 120 deaths have already occurred.

– Man puts personal fight against knives

A British man, a father of four, decided to act against this kind of crime and started collecting knives in Waltham Forest area in east London.

Courtney Barrett said he decided to start the action after knife crime skyrocketed which he believes is due to lack of enough number of police in the streets.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Barret said “someone has to step up and do something about it.”

Underlining that the government’s work to curb the problem is not enough, Barret said he tries to “make the community a better place” as the knife crimes went up.

He said he started collecting knives in his neighborhood, sometimes knocking on the doors and sometimes placing a bin on the street.

Barret said he has now 20-30 people working with him to do this charity work and he intends to spread his “Bin Knives Save Lives” movement to other London boroughs soon.

Barret started collecting knives in May 2019. He said he and his team collected 200 knives in a period of 12 hours recently.

– Parents

Most of the London knife crime occurs in turf wars between rival gangs and Barret thinks that families have great responsibility to keep their children from criminality and most of the young people join gangs as families lack “parenting skills.”

“More people are carrying knives now because they are scared more than carrying them because they’re bad,” Barret said.

Families “do not have a clue” about the danger their kids are in while they think they are safe when they go out, he added.

“Parents need to check their rooms, bags because there is a lot going on out there,” he said.

“As parents we need to speak to our kids about the knife crime.”

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