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An increasing number of people of all ages have been convicted of carrying a knife in public. Reports from hospitals also indicate a rise in stab wounds particularly among young men aged between 14 and 25. A survey in 2002 of 14,000 students in secondary schools, reported that a significant minority of respondents admitted carrying weapons. One in ten boys aged 11 and 12 said they had carried a knife or other weapon in the previous year and eight per cent said they had attacked someone intending serious harm. By the age of 16, the figures had risen to 24 per cent admitting to carrying a knife or other weapon and 19 per cent admitting to have used one. Four per cent of boys in year 10 and 11 said there were three or more times when they had attacked someone intending to seriously hurt them. Frequent carrying of knives and other weapons was more common than using them to attack someone, with nine per cent of boys in the two eldest age groups saying they had done it three or more times. This compared with 14 per cent who said they had done so once or twice. Other studies, asking slightly different questions to larger age cohorts, have found an even higher incidence.

In a survey for the youth justice board in 2003 MORI found that 29 per cent of young people at school admitted that they had carried a knife.
Southwark/ Lambeth are ranked the 9th most deprived in the country, with approximately 70% of the population living within one of the most deprived wards. A crime report analysis conducted by metropolitan police authority 2004 states that Southwark/ Lambeth is one of the top 5 contributors to knife crime in London. In 2004 Southwark/ Lambeth had the 3rd highest incidences of knife crime in London. 17% of street robberies in London involve the use of a knife. Several sets of research have highlighted that the majority of perpetrators and victims of knife crimes are young people aged 14-16yrs and the most common reason for a young people carrying knives was the need to defend themselves from others. Other main reasons are reputation or showing off, peer pressure, protection and fear. The emotions they feel when carrying a weapon include anger, safety, pride, respect and fear. These are a combination of reasons why young people carry weapons. Important causes of youth offending are peer pressure, low parental supervision, truancy and exclusion. Additional risk factors were siblings involved in criminality and a low attachment to family and school.
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