YOUTH & KNIFE CRIME
IN MILTON KEYNES
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PROGRAMS & PROJECTS.
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of MK is BME
MK ranking in the index of multiple deprivation
of children living in poverty
children at risk of joining gangs
died to gang violence between 2011-2019
From the ground-up.
We sat down with members of the community and listened to our stories. You can find one of our meetings on BBC Look East TV
Why this project - what is the need and demand?
Need to stem the increase in knife and gun crime
Brexit has caused a lot of division, anxieties and uncertainties
Fulfilling a community need of a MK carnival - from our recent survey
Just like trees, young people need their roots to grow. (culture and identity)
Young people form images of themselves through reference to those around them.
Identity is related to an individual’s understanding of themselves as a physical entity.
Improve confidence in the diverse community resulting in greater business activities
According to statistics, Milton Keynes is one of the fast growing and increasingly diverse towns in England, with a rapid growing number of refugees and immigrants. Over a quarter (26.3%) of MK population are ethnic minority groups (BME). Overall, the Milton Keynes local authority was ranked 181/354 in the index of multiple deprivation 2015 with nine areas ranking in the 10% most deprived in England. In 2014, 20.2% of children aged under 16 are living in poverty in MK. This is just below average of 20.6%
With this global migration increase, come the challenges of lack of identity and heritage, as most young people struggle to identify themselves. In turn, young people have resorted to learning ‘street culture’ from gang leaders. This has led to increase in knife and gun crimes, which in turn has led to increase in loss of lives. Since 2011 to 2019, we have lost over 15 young people to knife and gun crimes.
Before starting the project on The Untold Story of Africa, we conducted a survey using social media channels, one to one and group meetings with community, religious, and youth centres, family groups, local police support officers and police officers as well as schools. We listened to school headteacher who told us about groups of young black boys who were very distractive, rude and underachieving. He expressed his concerns about their lack of confidence and self-esteem and its detrimental effect on their school performance.
During our community meeting, which was covered by BBC Look East TV, we listened to stories from community members, their friends and families. Their friends told us how much they feel angry and embarrassed to be black. “There is nothing good about black people because we hardly see any projects or celebrities in our communities” said some young people. At school, there is nothing taught about Black History to give us a good understanding of who we are,” said an angry young person. We asked them what can be done to reduce the problem. Most of them, including parents, suggested a carnival that would bring all communities together. From our recent survey, we know that there are over 170 young people at risk of joining the post code gang groups in Milton Keynes, if nothing is done about it.
We listened to a group middle-class parents (some doctors, engineers, doctors and businessmen) who lost their children to gun crime in early from 2011 to 2019. They shared with us their sense their lack of responsibility and total failure at losing their children. “We spent a lot of time working, hoping that money would bring happiness at home. We didn’t attend any of our cultural events or teach our children about their roots and in the end, they learned the street culture. They started taking drugs behind our backs and joined gangs, and death was the consequence. We failed them; we should have been there to guide them” said the parents. A few months ago, one young black boy lost his life to knife crime. Two weeks ago, we lost two young men to knife crime. During our community meeting, which was covered by BBC Look East TV, we listened to stories from community members, their friends and families.
In 2015, over 15 migrant families from Syria were welcomed into Milton Keynes. This came just one year before Britain made the choice to leave the EU (Brexit). Brexit has caused a lot of uncertainties and anxieties in our communities. This has led to a rise in hate crimes, racial discrimination and has created a wider division amongst young people; and hence gangs have become more dominant. With the larger and more split gangs (postcode gangs), knife and gun crime has risen across the UK. In more recent weeks, we have seen an increase of these incidences in Milton Keynes alone.