Ladettes blamed for violent crime rise. Girl gangs to follow?

So far, little’s been said on the topic of girl gangs. But, just as we know gangsters’ molls often stand behind their man, there’s been talk of young guys arming up to impress their girlfriend. It’s not that much of a long shot to think that some girls would be impressed by their feller being top dog in a gang.

But now, violent attacks committed by young women have reached record levels, statistics show.

The shocking rise has been blamed by some critics on “ladette” culture and links binge drinking to the rise in violent crime.

These figures show an alarming rise in the number of violent offences committed by women, fuelled by this Government’s lax approach to binge drinking

– Dominic Grieve

Figures from the Ministry of Justice reveal the number of women arrested for “violence against the person” in England and Wales has shot up from 78,900 in 2005/06 to 87,200 in 2006/07.

This equates to 240 female arrests each day and it is the first time more women have been arrested for suspected violent crimes than for theft and handling stolen goods.

The category includes offences ranging from street brawls to grievous bodily harm and murder.

The report, which was released on the internet last night, reveals that women aged 21 and over were the age group with the biggest number arrested for violent offences with 52,800, while 23,000 women aged 10 to 17 were arrested and those aged 18 to 20 accounted for 11,200 arrests.

The number of males arrested for violent crimes has also risen by more than 31,000 since 2005/06, with males aged 21 and over the greater offenders.

It also reflects the trend in young people to commit offences relating to theft and handling stolen goods.

In 2006/07, 263,400 males were arrested in connection with these charges, while 80,200 females were arrested for similar offences in that year.

Are the tides changing? How long before we see more girls arming up?

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Facebook attacked over knife game

Anti-knife crime campaigners have attacked Facebook for allowing a knifing game.

The site’s members have been able to use a blade icon – another company’s creation – to virtually “shank” other users.

John Knox, whose nephew Rob was stabbed to death in May, told the Sun the website was “disgusting”, with the game targeting young knife-carrying thugs.

The icon now appears to have been removed from Facebook.

Nike latest knife crime victim?

Nike has withdrawn its Air Stab trainers following an increase in knife killings, reports the Telegraph .

Originally sold in 1988, a limited edition range of the trainer was relaunched two years ago.

The company denied that the trainers glorified street violence and said the Air Stab name reflected the fact that it was first launched as a stability shoe and had no connection to knives or stabbing.

Sure, ‘Air Stab’ sounds punchy and ‘street’. But would young people really see it as a sign it’s okay to go out and stab another?

New funding for anti-crime youth schemes

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced £700,000 in funding for three youth projects steering young people away from gun and knife crime in the Capital.

The Mayor made the announcement while visiting the Brixton Road Youth Centre, which is managed by young people – the former centre, The Vassal Youth Centre, closed down in 2007 due to mismanagement by adults.

Mayor Boris Johnson said:

These projects are perfect examples of the youth initiatives we desperately need across London to engage young people. They offer guidance, information and most importantly steer young people away from the lure of gangs and criminal activity.

Tackling youth crime is complex and there are no magic solutions but I am determined to make London a safer city for everyone, including young people, who are frequently victims of crime.

As well as more targeted policing efforts, to combat these issues we need strong community projects, which are relevant and interesting to young people and schemes that widen their horizons as well as raise their aspirations.

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Calling the Shots’ will receive £200,000 funding over one year for its work with 16-19 year olds who are at risk of becoming involved in youth violence.
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‘Watch Over Me’ is a project aimed at teenagers that uses educational DVDs and teaching materials in schools, youth groups and community groups to raise the issues of gun crime, drugs, knives and general safety. It will receive £110,000.
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The Kids Task ForceMiss Dorothy.com’ primary school initiative will receive £400,000 for work with schools from 2008-09.

The projects will be funded by the Metropolitan Police ‘as part of their commitment in partnership with the Mayor of London to cut crime and make London safer for young people’, said a spokesperson.

TV and movies to blame claims Dicky Attenborough

Gun and knife crime is spurred on by movies and TV, according to a veteran film director.

In 1947’s Brighton Rock Richard Attenborough played Pinkie Brown, a sadistic teenage gangster.

But the 84-year-old told the Brighton Argus the entertainment industry is partly responsible for making weapons almost acceptable in daily life.

“Thirty years ago if Gary Cooper pulled out a gun, the audience would give a sharp intake of breath,” he said.

“Knife crime” searches on the up

Hitwise, a company that monitors how we use the internet, has some interesting analysis about knife crime.

Research director Robin Goad reports:

Following a recent spate of stabbings in the UK (particularly in London) and the media coverage that these events have attracted, people have become more concerned about the threat of knife crime. As a result, searches for the term ‘knife crime’ have increased noticeably over the last few weeks.

For the 4 weeks ending 19 July, ‘knife crime’ was the top search term containing the word ‘crime’, and also the top search term containing the word ‘knife’. The media coverage may have fuelled the fear, but news sites have also been the primary destination of people searching for ‘knife crime’

Of course, here at Channel 4 we’ve been running our own extensive Disarming Britain project to highlight and investigate the issues. The response from young people, both here on this blog and on our profiles on Bebo, MySpace and Facebook, has been tremendous.

But what happens now that the TV programmes have finished and the Street Weapons Commission has submitted its report? Will knife (and gun) crime remain a big media story?

One thing’s for sure: while teenage murders continue at the present rate, with all the associated fear that this brings, the subject is going to remain at the heart of our everyday lives.

(You can see the stats and charts at Hitwise here.)

You couldn’t make it up…

The Daily Mail, never a newspaper to shy away from craking down on crime, for once turns its wrath on the judiciary:

A judge stunned a court yesterday when he pulled a blade out of his pocket – while sitting on a knife crime case.

Judge Roger Connor brandished his knife in front of a 16-year-old boy accused of wounding with intent and assault.

The boy, who denies the charges, admits using a folding knife but claims he needed only one hand to open it.

Judge Connor pulled out his blade at Oxford Crown Court, saying: ‘I have a folding pocket knife in my pocket. You need two hands to open it don’t you?’

John Simmons, for the boy, questioned whether carrying the knife in public was legal but the judge said it was as the blade was less than 3in long.

Setting a fine example there, m’lud!