http://blogs.birminghampost.co.uk/news/

How big a problem is gang crime in Birmingham?

By Tom Scotney on Aug 27, 08 06:33 PM in Crime

You can prove anything with statistics. 58 per cent of people know that.

So perhaps it wouldn't be right to read too much into the Birmingham Post's timeline of knife and gun killings in the region over the past year.

But on the other hand, what else is there to go on? And if it suggests anything it's this: gang crime is more of a problem than many people might think in this city.

Talk about organised crime, and I suppose the image that first comes to mind might be the Corleones, Ray Liotta in Goodfellas or the Sopranos, depending on your age and taste in entertainment. But what we're seeing here isn't the sort of thing likely to feature in a classy drama any time soon.

Seeing killings clustered together - both geographically and temporally - lends credence to what the police seem to believe is going on, given their eagerness to dampen it down. This is that tit-for-tat attacks are taking place, and the possibility of the situation escalating exists.

I'm not suggesting that any of these individual tragedies cause any of the others. But together with the atittude of the police and families, there certainly seems to be a sense that planned violence is on the rise.

There's a tendency I've seen to sneer at gang crime, given that it takes place in a part of society the readers of this blog and this newspaper are unlikely to ever come across. And it's true - the average decent member of society is unlikely to even come across a member of the Johnson Crew, the Burger Bar Boys, Bang Bang Crew, the Slash, or any of the other names that are becoming depressingly fequent fixtures in the news over recent years.

But you don't have to be some sort of bleeding heart do-gooder to care about the fates of people who get caught up in gang crime.

This is an entire section of society that's been lost to the normal workings of the country. You might think that 'lost' is a bit of a paternalistic socialist term to use, given that many of the assorted thugs, thieves, murderers and other louts that take up a gang lifestyle probably do it with relish, hoping to be cool.

But consider this - many of the people we're talking about are children, too young to even take full legal responsibility for their actions. Or if they're not, they got involved as children. If they couldn't find anything to keep them out of that lifestyle as children, what hope for their own children in the future?

The underclass that exists in the UK - the willing non-workers - pick up much of the blame for the ills of the country. And perhaps they deserve some of it. So by ignoring gang crime, people are accepting things just getting worse.

I'm not claiming to have an answer, and perhaps one doesn't exist. But simply writing off a group of people - even if they've chosen to reject society, people are simply burying their heads in the sand.

5 Comments

blob boy said:

Below average what?

STEVE ORIS said:

gang crime in birmingham is only going to get alot worse with youths all fighting for the drugs to sell and who can sell where what the police will never be able to stop it as soon as they go one place the drug dealers move on to a next patch

News authors

Jonathan Walker

Jonathan Walker - The Birmingham Post's political editor
My postings | Jonathan Walker's RSS feed My feed

Subscribe to receive updates by email
David Kuczora

David Kuczora - A PR consultant working in Birmingham and living in the 'burbs
My postings

Alister Scott

Alister Scott - Professor of Spatial Planning and Governance, Birmingham City University
My postings

Recent Posts

Latest Birmingham Post Lifestyle blog

Lifestyle Blog

Birmingham Post staff and guest bloggers from the midlands give you the lowdown on what's happening in your region and some musings on culture in the UK and beyond.

Keep up to date

Sponsored Links