City knife crime blitz is a success

THE number of people carrying offensive weapons in Glasgow has dropped by 67% over the past seven years.

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The drop in knife crime was announced by Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill
The drop in knife crime was announced by Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill

The fall has been attributed to better education of young people, tougher enforcement on the streets and investment in youth activities.

Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill announced the figures as he launched a new poster campaign to target knife crime in the city.

Several "at risk" areas have been identified including Milton, Parkhead Cross, Govan Cross, Wyndford, Maryhill and Cranhill where posters will be displayed in bus shelters. Figures show the number of recorded crimes of handling offensive weapons have fallen by around two thirds since 2006 with a 60% drop across Scotland.

The number of people carrying a bladed weapon has fallen by 56% in Glasgow and violent crime has dropped by 57% over the same period. The latest statistics also show that youth crime is sitting at its lowest level for 27 years with a reduction of 50% across Scotland over the last six years.

The Scottish Government launched its No Knives, Better Lives, campaign in 2010 in Glasgow and across 10 other local authority areas which have all shown a significant drop in knife-crime.

The new poster campaign was launched at Ashgill Recreation Centre in Milton which runs a range of diversionary activities for young people including boxing, football and cycling.

Centre Manager Stephen Johnstone said: "I started here as a youth worker and I've personally noticed a big difference in crime in the area. The young people confide in you. Some of the stories they tell you are heartbreaking.

"You get to know which ones are potentially at risk. To have them come back in a few years and tell you they've passed an exam or they are sharing a house with someone they used to argue with, it's great. We are mobbed every day from Tuesday to Saturday."

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "It's a significant drop in Glasgow. Something is working. It's not just one thing, it's a combination of factors. It's about education and prevention. These are good kids, they may have carried a knife because they were scared.

"We will continue to work tirelessly with all of our partners to hammer the message home and change the culture in which some people think that carrying a weapon is acceptable.

"Scotland already has the toughest knife crime sentencing regime in the UK and those caught risk a significant sentence."

caroline.wilson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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