15-year-old male from Merseyside.
How much gun crime is there round here?There’s not a lot of gun crime.Do you ever hear about it round here?Only in the paper, but in places quite far away.And how about knife crime, is there much knife crime round here?No one gets stabbed or nothing. There’s been a few [incidents], but we don’t hear about it much compared to like other places [close to here].
Do you feel safe when you walk around here?No.Why not?Because you don’t know what’s coming round the corner.In each area around Liverpool there’s different sorts of gangs and they could be involved with someone else and if there’s a car going slowly by, you are worried and you’re on edge.
Why are you worried?Just in case something happens to you because they think you are involved with it, when you’re not.Do you know anybody who carries a knife?Yeah, I know some people.
Why do they carry a knife?One of my mates who I hang around with, he carries a knife because he’s scared of people because he lives in a bad area.He carries it with him at all times because a few times he’s been walking around and he’s been jumped.He says he won’t use it but it’s just like to say get away from me.
How old is he?He’s 16.Has he ever been caught?No. He’s not going to use it, he’s just worried because there are a lot of fights round his area and a lot of gangs. He’s just worried in case he gets jumped. Because he’s been jumped before and he started carrying it afterwards.Where did he get the knife from?Just a normal shop.
Any other reasons why young people carry knives?You feel safer. Most people carry it because of the gangs and if they see them they will use it.Do you think your friend who carries a knife is aware of the consequences?Yeah, he’s aware of it. But it’s for his own defence if you get what I mean.What are the consequences of carrying a knife?You get sentenced, you get fines and stuff like that and you can always get hurt by yourself by carrying.
So do young people look up to other young people who carry knives?I wouldn’t say so. Depends where they come from, depends what they’re knowledge is. If they are stupid they will look up to them and think I’ve got to do that but if they are not they will think, oh, he’s stupid, him. He’s going to get caught for it.
Is that the same with carrying guns? Do you know anyone who carries a gun?No. I’ve not heard of a gun round here since I have been here which is all my life really, I’ve never heard of one gun. You see them on You Tube videos but I’ve never seen one in real life.So do you see a real difference in terms of danger of knives and guns?If you see a gun coming towards you, you just automatically turn and run.
Who would carry a gun?Some stupid idiot, some stupid person who reckons they are hard because they are carrying a gun because they have got one. That’s all it is if they carry a gun. It’s to say, yeah, I’m hard, I’ve got a gun, don’t come near me.
You said earlier people carry knives to protect themselves because they are scared. Would people carry a gun to protect themselves?Depends. When they are protecting themselves with a knife, they could be getting bullied but not a lot. But if there’s a reason for carrying a gun they must be very badly getting it, like proper.So they are more likely to carry it for another reason.Yeah.What would that reason be?A rival gang.
So you would say they were more likely to be in a gang if they get a gun whereas a knife carrier could be –Could be any normal person. People say it’s just hoodies who carry knives, it’s not.What do you think the youngest age for a young person to carry a knife?It depends really. A few days ago in the paper there was a five-year-old who took a knife to school to stab the teacher. So it just depends. Depends what they think really.
You and your mate are the same age, from the same area and have the same background. Why is carrying a knife and you’re not?Because he’s got more of a reason than me. I live on a quieter estate than where he lives. His road where he lives, that’s bad.What do you think should happen to a young person caught carrying a knife, say your mate?He should be prosecuted but they need to find if he’s got a good enough reason behind it. They should still give him a sentence or fine but not as worse as if they have got evidence to back it up that he’s using it for something that he’s not meant to be.
What do you mean by a sentence?He should have to do community service or do a few days in a young offenders’ institute to see what it’s really like.Do you think he should be locked up?He might be. It depends. Yeah.If someone used a knife on you, would you like them to apologise to you?I would like to never see them again because I if I knew who it was, I would end up taking revenge myself, but not with a knife or a gun.
Do you think if a young person is caught carrying a knife they should be taught about the consequences of what could happen to them?Yeah. Because to be honest I think it would be a shock to them. The people who do carry knives and guns don’t know the consequences of it and if you tell them what it properly is they will probably get a shock.
Do you think longer time being locked up would act as a deterrent to stop people carrying knives?Yeah.Do you think it would work for your mate?Yeah. But to be honest as a mate myself, I could probably persuade him not to bring it out.