Why are more young people carrying knives in the city?

Knife crime

Sentences for knife and offence weapon offences in Norfolk were down in 2021 - Credit: PA

"Every young person is susceptible": That is the stark message from one city knife crime expert who believes the problem is growing in Norwich. 

Last year 244 people were sentenced in Norfolk for knife offences.  

Claire Lincoln, charity lead at Sprowston Youth Engagement Project, says she has seen a huge increase in young people carrying knives.  

Claire Lincoln is the charity lead at SYEP and plans to offer young people the support they need to speak out. 

Claire Lincoln is the charity lead at SYEP and plans to offer young people the support they need to speak out. - Credit: Claire Lincoln

She said: “We live in a world where knife culture has become common among young people living in cities.  

“Gangs and ‘Road Man’ mentality have become common within youth culture. It’s not just troubled teens who are being drawn to this type of lifestyle, every young person is susceptible.” 

Ms Lincoln thinks the problem stems from a belief that the lifestyle associated with gang culture is fashionable.  

She said: “It’s embedded into music, fashion, television and film.” 

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Ms Lincoln added that as young people go through their transition into adulthood they form their identities and are more easily influenced.  

“Part of this transition is wanting to fit in with their peers and this can massively influence a young person," she added. 

“This is when young people often start to carry knives, they are scared and feel they need a knife to protect themselves from other peers who are also carrying knives. 

“Threatening to hurt someone with a knife has become common in arguments.” 

Knife crime

Figures have revealed the areas in Norwich that saw the highest crime offences of possessing weapons including knives. - Credit: Getty Images

She added that young people are often scared to speak up about these threats because of potential retribution.  

But  Ms Lincoln firmly believes that not every young person who carries a knife is a bad person.  

She said: “Many of them are just scared, they don’t think about or realise what the consequences of carrying a knife can be.” 

And she believes the amount of information that children and young people have access to in the modern world means children are unable to simply be children and young people are mostly unable to escape.  

She said: “We must stop blaming parents and young people as it is all our responsibility to educate our children and to be role models.  

“By doing this we tackle the issue together and hopefully we can build a better future for our community's young people.”