Knife-related crime in London has risen 34 percent over the last year, according to a new report from the BBC.
An incident involving a blade or sharp object takes place, on average, every 14 minutes in the United Kingdom. Of the 37,000 incidents in the past 12 months, more than 13,000 offenses were committed in London.
“It’s scaring people because things are happening so often, to the point where people are fearing for their lives every single day,” one teenager told the BBC.
Another man said his motorized scooter was stolen by a group of teenagers who held him at knife-point.
“My money has gone, my bike has gone, my job, everything,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
The uptick in knife-related attacks is part of a larger rise in violent crime in the UK. Earlier this year we reported on the increasing number of acid attacks in London, and police say gun-related crime has risen by a staggering 27 percent in the last year (though some question the reliability of these statistics).
But even while violent crime increases, law-abiding Londoners have few options for self-defense. Guns are entirely out of the question, as handguns are illegal to own anywhere in the UK. Knives could provide small means of self-defense, but it is illegal to carry a knife with a blade longer than 3 inches, and anything shorter than 3 inches must be folding.
The helplessness of London residents likely explains the BBC’s focus on police action. When private citizens are barred from acquiring effective means of self-defense, they must rely on law enforcement to keep them safe.
The BBC report also reiterates the age-old fallacy that blames the weapon—rather than the person—for violent crime.
In the video that accompanies the article, the reporter asks an anonymous knife-carrier why he chooses to carry a weapon.
When the man explains that he carries a knife because he’s seen friends being stabbed, the reporter responds, “But if you decided not to carry a knife then that’s one less problem on the street.”
The knife, apparently, is the problem. It’s not that people decide to harm other people, whether with knives, acid, or guns. Weapons, according to this logic, are always bad, even if law-abiding citizens use them for self-defense.
Meanwhile, Londoners must face every day the possibility of being assaulted, robbed, or killed, and they can’t do anything about it.