The article I have chosen to analyse is “With Knife Crime on the Increase it’s back to Basics” by Michael Godfrey. The article discusses the increase in knife crime amongst teenagers in the British isle’s and claims that it is a ‘lack of respect’ that has caused this, claiming that parents are at fault for ‘attempting to reason’ with their children instead of setting clear boundaries and enforcing rules. Violent crime effects all members of society negatively, and increase in knife crime causes members of the general public to become paranoid and afraid for their safety.
It makes people less likely to want to travel anywhere alone or at night and also to decrease the amount of valuables they keep on their person in order to avoid being “mugged”. Also, looking at knife crime from a more macro perspective, it could be said that increase in crime costs our society economically (the government paying to keep them in overcrowded jails) and culturally (creating a negative image to other countries/societies and harmful stereotypes).
According to a recent study by the youth justice board, relative poverty among young people has caused many to resort to violent crime in order to get the things they covet (iPods and mobile phones) this combined with poor parents is creating children/teens who grow up to be dysfunctional members of society. Marxists would claim that this is the middle class/upper classes fault, that the working class are so thoroughly oppressed that this is only expected.
They would credit this increase in knife crime amongst predominantly working class males as caused by the lack of opportunities provided to those with lower ascribed status. However, the New Right would likely blame this increase of violence on the rise in divorce and the dissolution of the traditional nuclear family. More and more of today’s youth (especially working class individuals) are brought up in single-parent families, civil partnership families and increasingly unconventional situations.
The new right believe that is this lack of stability that hinders proper primary socialisation and allows today’s youth to be inappropriately aware of the effect of their anti-social behaviour on larger society. Many sociologists believe that a more stable home life and better education would help to keep young people off the streets and away from violent crime. Others say that a firmer hand at home keeping them in line would also help.
However, it has been proven that enforcing rules more strictly does not effectively discourage knife crime, this was shown in Ireland where penalties and prison sentences have been increased there was no improvement seen in the amount of knife crime committed. However, many people also criticise Marxists for focusing almost entirely on class conflict and not factoring other points into their theories (family breakdown, economic recession) Marxists fail to take into account increase in knife crime amongst the upper classes and make those of lower class the victims.
The New Right are also heavily criticised for their intense focus on the family and their tendency to blame the victims for the problem. The New Right’s view of the family is ideological and fails to see the merits of raising children in a more dysfunctional family than the traditional ‘cereal packet family’ ideal of gone times, they fail to take any other points into account.