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I gave a brief (via Skype) presentation on #knifecrime yesterday to a meeting at @UAL - thought I'd post the slides here in case anyone is interested.

A brief overview of evidence on use/carrying, trends, and then a series of 7 hypotheses about why the increase.

A thread.

First some headlines re motivation and risks for carrying & use. Main sources @iainbrennan's excellent paper… and the v good recent @CollegeofPolice briefing by Abigail McNeill and @levinwheller… #knifecrime

To illustrate the trend in recent years I opted first for health rather than crime data. NHS data taken from the spreadsheet published to accompany this @commonslibrary #knifecrime briefing published last Nov.…

I then presented some @metpoliceuk data to show that the recent increase in homicide in London has almost entirely resulted from an increase in knife homicides.

I described, but didn't include slides (I had 15 mins...) on, how in London the @metpoliceuk data show increases in #homicide victims across the teens/20s/30s in recent years, with a particular increase in black victims. Two charts included here to illustrate...

I then described 7 hypotheses to explain the increases in #knifecrime observed since 2013 or thereabouts - again, with a focus on London.

Hypothesis 1: to understand the increase since 2013, we must also understand the decrease between 2011 and 2012. I suggest this may be a post-riots effect, reflecting both incarceration and deterrence due to susceptibility to arrest/imprisonment. Since worn off. #knifecrime

Hypothesis 2: austerity, which amongst other things has degraded support and positive/purposeful activities for children and young people.

Hypothesis 3: increases in #schoolexclusions, though I made the point these are likely to be both symptomatic of and causal in respect of #knifecrime, and that looking at the detail context seems to matter. At a borough level correlation is strong in some but not others.

Hypothesis 4: a depolicing effect, reflecting both austerity (cuts to the police workforce, police station closures) and government policy (reducing #stopsearch, arrests, #prechargebail). Overall reductions in proactivity, intel etc.

Perhaps worth repeating a Q here I've asked before: did the fall in #knifecrime (and other violence) following the 2011 riots create the (small and big 'p') political context in which falls to #stopsearch etc could be permitted without (initial) controversy?

Hypothesis 5: changes to drug markets. Signs of increasing powder cocaine purity & use; likely reflecting increases in cocaine supply, in turn feeding into crack cocaine markets. #countylines a growing problem (crack/heroin), incl for model of grooming/exploiting youths.

Hypothesis 6: the universal adoption of social media. Forums in which conflict can be triggered, sustained & accelerated. Significance of social audiences: challenges to status and reputation viewed by 100s or 1000s, increasing imperatives for retaliation?

Hypothesis 7: a contagion effect triggered by adoption of more menacing/lethal (but cheap: £10-15) weapon types. Are these understood to indicate growing risks, stimulating more widespread adoption? (See @iainbrennan's paper linked above). #theresthatknifeagain #knifecrime

Anything you disagree with? What have I missed? As always I'd be grateful to hear your thoughts.

15/ ends for now.
I didn't provide a source for the drug use and purity data - apologies.

Drug use from the Crime Survey for E&W:… (from…)

Drug purity: table 7.4 at… (from…)

If you're interested in hypothesis 6 on social media I'd recommend this @Catch22 report on that exact subject by @KeirIrwinRogers and @RealActionUK…

For a slightly different way of thinking about youth violence, check out this blog…

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