Gardaí to tackle rise in knife violence with new campaign

Force to launch awareness drive amid concerns over increased number of attacks

Gardaí are becoming increasingly concerned about the rise in  knife attacks being carried out by teenagers in recent months. Photograph: Getty Images

Gardaí are becoming increasingly concerned about the rise in knife attacks being carried out by teenagers in recent months. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Gardaí plan to roll out a national anti-knife awareness campaign in the coming months to tackle the increasing level of knife violence.

Gardaí are becoming increasingly concerned about the rise in violent knife attacks being carried out by teenagers in recent months, according to sources.

Latest Garda figures show a decrease in the number of knives seized in the Dublin region over the past three years, but gardaí say more awareness is needed to further reduce the number of violent attacks.

In 2015, 791 knives were recorded as being seized with a decrease to 696 in 2016. During the first six months of 2017, 410 knives were seized.

In recent weeks a number of stabbing incidents have taken place in the early hours of the morning.

Last month, a 19-year-old man was hospitalised after being stabbed in Crumlin on Dublin’s south side. It is understood he was attacked by a group of up to 10 people armed with knives and golf clubs.

A 30-year-old man was attacked on Crane Lane in Temple Bar early on a Saturday morning late last month. The man, who was walking home from a night socialising, was attacked by a number of teenagers and stabbed. The gang stole the man’s phone during the assault. The man was not seriously injured.

A Garda source said the number of teenagers carrying knives is rising.

“In particular, these teenage gangs appear to be targeting people who are walking alone at night or on their phone. It’s become an increasing effort for gardaí to monitor such large groups of youths who are hanging around the canals and parks during the summer.”

A Department of Justice spokesman told The Irish Times that gardaí were continuing to address the issue of knife crime through education and engagement with community initiatives.

Tiered approach

“An Garda Síochána tackles knife crime through a tiered approach, by way of a rigorous enforcement policy, education programme and awareness-raising campaigns. District detective units also monitor vendors engaged in the sale of knives.

“They are currently developing a national anti-knife, awareness-raising, crime-prevention initiative, for delivery to coincide with the wintertime ‘Thor’ initiatives and Hallowe’en, which is traditionally a high knife crime period,” said the spokesman.

Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan noted that the Garda Commissioner’s recent monthly report to the Policing Authority had revealed a 14 per cent rise in violent crime compared to the same time last year.

“This is a worrying development and may be explained in part by the increase in knife crime for theft of smartphones. Increased Garda presence on the streets and a strong sentence for those involved in such crimes are needed in order for the message to be sent that violent attacks on people will not be tolerated,” said Mr O’Callaghan.