The Scourge of Rising Knife Crime in Cardiff
Following the worrying trend in cities and towns across the UK, Cardiff has seen an increase in knife crime with three serious incidents in the last few weeks. Across South Wales the level of knife crime is sadly the highest it has been in a decade, with the 2017-18 figures seeing a rise of 54% from 569 knife related crimes to 742. While London has seen the bulk of the attention on this issue the statistics show it is not just a problem for the UK’s capital. It is understandably an issue which gets a lot of media coverage and the public’s perception and fear is rising accordingly.
What Is Behind This Increase?
Similar to crime in general there is not a one-stop solution to knife crime. The majority of offences are carried out by repeat offenders, and some groups in society are more vulnerable to being exploited by criminal gangs, with social media used to portray supposedly lavish lifestyles. The fall in police numbers is also seen as key by the public, and the perception of the link between lawlessness and less police drives fear within a community. This perception can also lead to people carrying knives for self-protection, introducing more knives to the street.
Increased fines for knife possession and an increase in stop and search are a couple of the methods police can use to combat this scourge, as is specific, intelligence led information. However communities in Cardiff will have seen increased economic pressures since the financial crash of 2008. Providing opportunities and services such as youth centres can provide alternative options to those who may otherwise get caught up in criminal activity.
Knife Crime in Cardiff
Unfortunately Cardiff has seen its share of recent high-profile knife crime. In July 2017 father of two Sean Kelly died after he was stabbed in Adamstown. He was knifed in the leg, causing severe blood loss in an attack which saw 18 year old Aaron Bingham convicted of his murder.
Police officer Graham Budd was stabbed in Cardiff by a fleeing drug dealer as he guarded the rear of a property. The knife was a triple-bladed “zombie” knife which is “inspired” by horror movies. He and his fellow officer still managed to detain the suspect but the knife involved was described by a judge as one of the most vicious he had seen.
Recent video footage from Cardiff shows the public helping to stop a man with a knife who was fleeing the police on a bicycle. One member of the public knocked him off his bike while another tripped him, allowing police to catch up and arrest him before finding a large hunting knife in his rucksack.
The police are trying to address the concerns of the public and state Cardiff is still a safe city and knife crime is a small part of their policing activities. Yet public perception is high and as knife crime continues to rise public confidence will be hard to maintain.