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Violent Attacks Becoming Less Frequent But More Serious

Despite media outrage about recent knife crimes in the United Kingdom, prevalence of knife crime has not increased

FRIDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- In contrast to the strong media, public and government reaction to a spate of recent knife killings in the United Kingdom, violent crime has decreased in frequency from 2000 to 2007, with knife crimes remaining stable at approximately 7 percent of the total. However, hospital admissions for violent crime have increased, pointing to more serious injuries sustained as a result of violent crime, according to an editorial published online July 16 in BMJ.

Jonathan Shepherd, Ph.D., and Iain Brennan of Cardiff University in Cardiff, U.K., write that there are four main reasons why people carry weapons: to cause harm, due to fear of violence, to demonstrate "machismo" or to facilitate robbery.

The threat of being caught, bringing offenders face to face with their victims in the process of restorative justice, and tackling environmental disfigurement and drug-related problems all help reduce violence, the authors write. However, there is a lack of data on the effectiveness of measures targeted specifically at reducing knife crime.

"Whereas medicine is underpinned by rigorous applied research integrated with practitioner training in university schools, police, probation and prison services lack these foundations," the authors write. "It is high time our best universities invaded the criminal justice system."

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