Despite the health pandemic and tight lockdown, with people being less visible on the streets, knife crime continues to result in the appalling loss of young lives across London. In London alone, 73 lives were lost to knife crime last year and since the beginning of this year, around 10 young people have died in the capital as a result of incidents involving the use of a knife or other bladed article. On Saturday 10th April, there was a fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old in Sydenham, south London. In the month of March 2021, two young men bled to death on the same street in Croydon, neighbours murdered almost a month apart. There have also been numerous life-changing injuries due to knife crime. Serious youth violence is continuing to take or devastate the lives of young people and destroy families and communities.
The Metropolitan police have launched a new campaign called “Hard Calls Save lives”. This is a hard-hitting awareness-raising campaign against serious youth violence led by five mothers who have lost their sons to knife crime. One of the mothers Yvonne states, “Calling with information about knife crime may feel hard, but there are harder calls”. Like the call Yvonne had to take when her son Godwin was murdered. Through tears, these mothers stress their hope that anyone who may have witnessed a crime or even been given any information, even the smallest of details, about a crime would take the decision to make a hard call. As they say, “It may feel like a hard call, but your call could stop someone else’s son or daughter being killed. Anything you report to Crimestoppers is 100% anonymous”.
The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of the Diocese of Southwark, is firmly behind this campaign. He said,
“Southwark is the Diocese in which Stephen Lawrence and Damilola Taylor were murdered in 1993 and 2000 respectively and many other young lives have been lost as a consequence of serious youth violence. We are determined to work with our community and civic partners to end this appalling violence and ensure that everyone values and cherishes the lives of young people and their families.”
The Rt Revd Dr Karowei Dorgu, Bishop of Woolwich, whose area covers Sydenham, adds his own support saying,
“In Youth Knife crime all the families involved become victims. It’s crucial that if you know of a crime involving serious youth violence, then pick up the phone and call Crimestoppers.”
The Diocese of Southwark is a founder member of the Synergy Network, a coalition of churches, para-church groups and Christian agencies working together to end serious youth violence in Britain and Ireland. Their website draws together a range of activities happening across the UK to stem the tide of youth violence.
To give information on knife crime, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Find out more about the Hard Calls Saves Lives campaign here.