The rates of violent crime in UK are on the rise, with knife crime rising by 20%, gun crime rising by 21% and London’s murder rate overtaking New York’s. However, it is marginalised members of BAME communities who are most at risk of being both victims and suspected of this violence. It is vital that these marginalised communities are made aware of and educated about this issue to enact meaningful change.
The current figures highlighting the rise of violent crime have aligned with the spate of recent murders across London where 8 people were killed in 7 days in March. The rates of violent crime in this period have been twice as much as the previous year and as it stands, there have been over 50 suspected murders in London this year alone.
One of these victims was 19 year old Kelvin Odunuyi who was shot dead outside the Vue cinema in Wood Green on 8th March 2018 – in an incident police are treating as gang-related. It is noted that Kelvin himself was not a gang member, but potentially socialised with individuals who were gang-affiliated. This sort of violence has been linked by some to an escalating ‘post-code war’ in North London, where inter-gang tensions are rising. Police in Haringey have been granted controversial blanket stop and search powers across a large portion of the borough in response to these recent attacks.
Only a few days after this incident, a 14 year old boy was shot on Seven Sisters Road and a young man was stabbed to death outside Stratford Shopping centre. More recently, a 17 year old girl was tragically shot dead in Tottenham, which is also reported to be gang-related.
The problem is growing rapidly and should be a huge cause of concern, especially for those from marginalised BAME communities. Members of the BAME community are overly targeted as suspects of gang-related violent crime and are statistically more likely to be victims. In this recent spate of crimes across London, it has been individuals of colour who have suffered the most.
Although the country and media outlets are recently starting to wake up to the reality of the problem; it has long been brushed under the carpet. Last month, a top Metropolitan police officer suggested that the reason there hasn’t been ‘collective outrage’ relating to the rates of knife crime in the UK is because many victims are from black communities.
Turning a blind eye to the suffering of ethnic minority communities is unacceptable and the inadequate response to violent crime so far reflects a deep-rooted racism within this country. It is time to enact meaningful change to prevent this violence – not only do the government need to tackle this issue head on, but it is also important to work with and educate marginalised BAME families who are most likely to be affected. Raising awareness about knife and gun crime alongside gang-related crime and the signs of gang membership within hard to reach communities is imperative.
At JAN Trust, we provide advice to mothers and families about various issues including violent crime which disproportionately affects their children. Through our grassroots sessions we are able to connect with marginalised families in an environment that is safe, welcoming and productive. Find out more about the work we do here: https://jantrust.org/