London rocked by bank holiday bloodshed

RIP: Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton (top left) is one of over 60 people murdered in London this year.

Why is violent crime rising? In London, a horrific streak of shootings and stabbings has left one teenager dead and multiple injured. Violent crime rates are surging across the country too.

“Let my son be the last and be an example to everyone. Just let it stop.”

These are the heartrending words of Pretana Morgan, whose son was brutally gunned down on Saturday evening in London.

Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton, 17, was out playing football with friends when the attack happened. He died at the scene, and no arrests have yet been made.

Barton’s death was the first of a string of violent attacks across London during a blood-soaked bank holiday weekend. On Sunday, two boys aged 13 and 15 were wounded in a shotgun attack, before a 22-year-old man was also shot. Violence spread beyond the capital too, with fatal stabbings reported in Luton and Liverpool.

Figures suggest that nationally, violent crime is on the rise. In 2017, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded a 22% rise in knife crime and an 11% rise in gun crime compared with the previous year.

This rise has been felt acutely in London, with some describing “epidemic” levels of violence. Metropolitan Police are investigating more than 60 alleged murders in the city this year, over half of which were stabbings. Last year, there were 116 murders in the capital, a figure that will be overtaken in 2018 if current homicide rates persist.

Why is violent crime rising?

Crimewave

Blame failing institutions, some argue. A leaked Home Office report states that police cuts have “likely contributed” to rising violent crime. Without robust policing, crime will flourish.

It is a societal problem, others respond. As youth worker Nequela Whittaker argues: “The youth culture seems to be falling apart at the moment.” Social media escalates petty feuds into deadly altercations, and violence has been normalised throughout pop culture.

You Decide

  1. Should Britain be harsher to criminals?

Activities

  1. Crime is a complex thing, and there could be many factors which encourage people to break the law. Write down all the reasons you can think of why somebody might commit a crime. Choose one reason which you think best explains the rise in violent crime described above. Why did you choose this explanation?

Some People Say...

“Poverty is the mother of crime.”

Marcus Aurelius

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Britain has a low “intentional homicide” rate of 0.92 murders per 100,00 people. By contrast, the US has a murder rate of 4.9 murders per 100,000 people.
What do we not know?
We do not know for sure if police cuts have caused the rise in violent crime in England and Wales. Not all police forces with reduced officer numbers reported a rise in violent crime.

Word Watch

Violent attacks
As well as those described here, a 43-year-old man was also stabbed following a traffic dispute. Another three men were left with “life changing” injuries following an acid attack in Hackney on Monday morning.
Wounded
One boy was reportedly shot in the head, while the other was an innocent bystander. Both survived the attack.
Office for National Statistics
Explore the report for yourself by following the link in Become An Expert.

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