knife crime


There is a wave of knife crimes/stabbings being reported in the UK, which is a relatively new experience on this scale for this country. The fatal stabbings are invariably among younger members of the community in their teens and they occur over the most trivial of disputes. I should be interested to hear whether you in your country are experiencing similar crimes on a large scale.


Limerick (stab city) has a great reputation for knife crimes. When I studied there, somebody got stabbed every other weekend (without me being involved, of course). The incidents usually happen after pubs close on a Friday or Saturday night, and usually involve young locals. It all started in the 1970s when the government decided to solve the ‘Gypsy Problem’ by settling them in a few places all over the country. Limerick got lucky and received one third of all travellers. Those folks were then accomodated in tin shacks (corrugated iron huts) behind the train station. At one point, some 8,000 people were living in this community alone. Today, most of them have moved to a different area in town. There are rivalling families involved in clan feuds, and the weapon of choice usually is a knife.

I’ve read a book called “Life at the Bottom” by a retired psychiatrist, who worked in prisons and in the poorer communities of Britain, whose pseudonym is Theodore Dalrymple. The mentalities and behaviors among the people he describes in the UK are essentially the same as the those among American ghetto dwellers. (In the States his books are used by black conservatives to make the point that social pathologies in the US black community are not the legacy of racism but of problems with the education and social welfare systems.)

The book introduced me to the practice in seedier British pubs of “glassing”. It’s simply taking a drinking glass and pressing it into someone else’s face or head until it breaks, thereby causing severe lacerations and bleeding. The author said that every weekend numerous residents of London have to have their faces and scalps sewn up due to this practice.

I had never heard of anyone in the US doing this, and I’ve been in some pretty seedy environments before. However, I was struck by the irony of my own reaction to it, because I was more horrified to read about this “glassing” than I ever am to read about a shooting. I guess I’ve been inured to the latter.

I know from the generation that remembers American nightclubs in the 1920s that there used to be a lot of stabbings in the seedy bars in the old days, but now, in the US, there appears to be no intermediate step between fists and guns.

Ralf, Ireland seems to have had similar deep-thinkers doing similar deep thinking to that done in the US in the 1960s and 1970s. During that era, they got the idea to tear down slums and build big high-rise apartment buildings for people on pubic assistance. It seemed like a good idea, but these places soon became so decrepit and infested with so much unimaginable crime that the poor didn’t want to live in them even for free. Then the deep-thinkers got another idea. They tore down these high-rises and resettled the residents in working-class neighborhoods, with the idea that these “savage” (no one dares use the word) people would become civilized from being around their neighbors. What has really been happening, however, is that the people’s behavior remains so bad that everyone stays away from them. Once the first spectacular crime occurs (a shooting, a pit bull terrier attack, or a house being firebombed), the earlier residents start clearing out, and the place becomes a hell hole like the public assistance residences, but made up of single-family houses.

Yes, glassing is not a nice thing at all. You’d only have to look at Gary Moore’s face(Irish blues guitarist, previously Thin Lizzy) to see the effects of glassing.

The very same happened in Dublin Ballymun. There used to be a big highrise area that was infamous for its seediness. They’ve started tearing down those blocks of flats and recently developed an art programme to rekindle its spirit.


From the pictures, those Irish projects look like what Americans typically call “Soviet-style apartment blocks”. But look at the Detroit ones: … etroit.jpg

It’s amazing how similar building crimes that turn into crime buildings have evolved all over the globe. Fortunately, there’s only one high rise left in Dublin-Ballymun.

Does anybody have a similar area in their hometown, or have you ever lived in a tower block (multi-storey building)?

We need more random searching (they had metal detectors and coppers in Glasgow Central a few years back stopping people searching for weapons) and higher sentences for knife carriers. The problem is so many people carry them for ‘protection’ from other people who are carrying them for ‘protection’ as well. It’s just self perpetulating really and a change in belief starting with the very young is the only way to really tackle the problem.

Living in Glasgow, there is always the threat of knife crime (I believe we have the highest rate of it in the country) however I’ve never been subjected to it but have seen people carrying knives. I do generally believe, and I think the crime stats back this up to a point, that Glasgows high crime rate is generally localized in certain (and there are a fair few of them) areas and rarely do gang fights spill over into the other less ‘gangy’ areas. Recently i wrote essays on knife crime it was very interesting experience to me.In this essays i have pointing out some methods preventing knife crime.

I suspect the level of incidence of knife crime are a lot higher in Castlemilk than they are in Giffnock.