COVENTRY adults surveyed during the school summer holidays are concerned children may become victims of knife crime, a new study has revealed.
A YouGov poll of more than 100 adults in Coventry reveals that more than two thirds (69 per cent) surveyed are worried children aged between 10 and 18 could be affected by incidents involving blades.
Knife crime in Coventry has more than doubled in the last five years and violent incidents have increased by more than a fifth.
Among those surveyed, 66 per cent of respondents surveyed worry that children feel unsafe in their local area because of knife crime, and 60 per cent said children carry blades for protection because they feel vulnerable.
In Coventry, 57 per cent responding to the YouGov survey agreed that more safe places and activities for children such as youth clubs, sports clubs and community centres would make their area safer for children from knife crime.
And 50 per cent surveyed think more investment in neighbourhoods to combat poverty, inequality and unemployment will help.
In comparison, just 32 per cent think that tougher sentences for those who commit crime will make their local area safer, contrary to recently touted government policies.
A group of young people affected by knife crime delivered a letter and 12-point manifesto to 10 Downing Street which called for more investment in youth services and work to help communities tackle housing and unemployment as key to tackling increases in knife crime.
Barnardo’s regional director Emma Bowman said: “Children should be having fun and relaxing in the school summer holidays but the majority of people surveyed are concerned children will become the victims of knife crime.
“This polling shows most adults realise that knife crime is a complex issue.
“The answer does not lie in tougher sentences but in making sure our children and young people are safe.
“We want the Government to ensure children can thrive in their own communities; provide safe environments and activities for children, alongside more investment in neighbourhoods and services to combat poverty.
“We need to urgently work together as a society to get a grip on this national crisis.
“Government needs to work with children’s services, educationalists, charities, social workers, youth workers, the criminal justice system and local communities to tackle the real causes of knife crime.”
YouGov surveyed adults in ten cities for Barnardo’s – Birmingham, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newport, Nottingham and Sheffield.