Harsher punishments for violent crime are not the answer, the father of a murdered Catholic schoolboy has said after widespread concern was voiced over a series of deadly knife attacks in London.
Barry Mizen, whose 16-year-old son Jimmy was murdered in 2008, has instead called for stronger community responsibility in order to prevent such crimes.
His call comes in response to the fatal stabbings of four males in unrelated attacks across London during the New Year period.
The deputy commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, Craig Mackey, said the spate of murders was “truly unusual and extraordinary”.
However, Mr Mizen said while he agreed the number of fatalities in one night was unusual, the number of stabbings wasn’t.
He told The Universe that through his work with the For Jimmy organisation – the charity set up to help end community violence in the wake of his son Jimmy’s death – it was clear that violent crime was increasing and the absolute fear young people are experiencing away from home is driving it.
“Young people are carrying knives because they are frightened, which leads subsequently to these knives being used. It’s a wonder there are not more fatalities – the excellent work of the emergency services is the main reasons for that,” Mr Mizen told The Universe.
Mr Mizen stressed that although the public want long prison sentences for the perpetrators of such crimes, they would not solve anything.
“The usual response has been to apply ever harsher punishment, as we have seen in recent years, however that clearly isn’t working,” he said.
Instead, young people, and society in general, must build stronger communities, much like For Jimmy are doing with their Safe Haven programme in London, which will eventually be made available for any local community or church to undertake.
Picture: File photo dated 25/4/09 of a man in a hoodie holding a knife. Picture posed by model. (Katie Collins/PA Wire/PA Images).