Voluntary Sector: Crimestoppers week to target youth knife culture

Crime-prevention group Crimestoppers is to use its sixth annual awareness week to warn young people of the dangers of carrying knives.

The charity will target schoolchildren and students from cities where it describes knife crime as a 'serious problem'.

The campaign quotes research conducted by London-based charity The Peace Alliance, which found 29 per cent of young people in London schools admitted to having carried a knife.

The charity has previously used the event to focus on gun crime and women's safety, but this year's events - from 19 to 25 September - will specifically target young people for the first time.

Crimestoppers PR and marketing manager Michele Harris said children and teenagers claim they carry knives for protection, but often end up the victims of knife attacks themselves.

'Our media relations strategy will target social affairs and crime correspondents in the national press, and specialist press covering youth justice, charity and police,' said Harris. 'Local press will be targeted by our regional groups, and local radio with a strong youth audience.'

The Crimestoppers week includes a conference for education and youth justice professionals entitled 'Preventing violence and abuse in schools - promoting positive behaviour'.

The National Crimebeat Awards for eight to 25-year-olds who devise community safety projects will follow the conference. Fashion designer Bruce Oldfield OBE will also hold a private charity function on behalf of the charity.

The organisation is also producing Me, Myself and Eye, a resource aimed at children aged nine to 11 on crime-related issues. Piloted in 2004, it is being rolled out to 1,000 schools in the UK during Crimestoppers Week, and will be available to teachers, youth workers, the police and parents.

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