Improving health and creating wealth: the two keys to reducing knife crime and violence

views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Birmingham

“The recent knife crime incidents in Birmingham as well as the stabbings in London a few days earlier has been a reminder that knife crime has seen a widespread increase in the last three years across the country.”


The recent knife crime incidents in Birmingham as well as the stabbings in London a few days earlier has been a reminder that knife crime has seen a widespread increase in the last three years across the country. While some of this has been blamed on gangs and various other causes from police cuts to violent rap music has been proposed, some incidents seem random and defy explanation. However, these random violent acts more often than not hide some underlying cause, including untreated mental ill-health.

During the lockdown while violence outside the home was low, one instead saw crimes within the house, such as domestic violence and child maltreatment on the rise.

Now, as the UK is in a phased ‘unlock’ we see violence returning to the streets. Some of it can be considered as pent up demand, exacerbated by the anxiety and stress during the lockdown and the continuing uncertainty over the progress of the disease.

In an earlier analysis, in work done with Anindya Banerjee and Juliana Pinto, we analysed knife crime across the 42 Police Force Areas (PFAs)  and used regression analysis to understand the impact of spending variations in police and other public services across time and PFAs, as well as the role of socio-economic factors that can potentially affect crime. Given the possible persistence of these effects, we used past values of knife crime that also partly capture ‘peer effects’. Our key findings were:

  1. Past crime is the primary predictor of future crime. We find that a 1% change in crime rate in a year is associated with a 0.7-0.8% increase in the following year, showing a high degree of persistence.
  2. The second most important factor is unemployment, which increases knife crime significantly. A 1% increase in unemployment in the past year increases knife crime by 0.1-0.2%. In terms of numbers, a rise in unemployment levels from 5% to 6% could lead to over 3600 more knife crime incidents yearly.

Unemployment Magnified: Implications for Violent crime

While some care must be before we extrapolate these results, the grim unemployment scenario is not good news based on our analysis. The furlough scheme may have kept the worst effects of unemployment at bay but with it coming to an end, the impact of unemployment will be felt keenly. While a sudden upwards shift in unemployment does not necessarily indicate a big spike in violence, both our analysis as well as other work on both domestic violence and violence outside the home indicate strong associations with employment status of individuals.

Combining public health approaches with a blueprint to boost employment post lockdown

What do we need to do in terms of policy? We need to recognise that crime is a public health issue and that early support may stop someone from a path of crime. Recent work that our team has done shows promising results in a number of early intervention focusing both on the young person and their family. In the specific context of knife crime, we do not need to look far to find an example of how a public health approach may have helped reduce knife crime. Scotland has dramatically reduced deaths from knife crime. Their approach combined conventional policing approaches with courts offering perpetrators the help they need in terms of employment, relocation, housing and training to get out of the cycle of criminality. While each region has unique features, there is much to learn from the Scottish experience. In the context of the current pandemic, a public health approach needs to consider the hidden burden of mental health seriously and find innovative ways to improve health surveillance – the systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health data. For example, in the context of violence in the home it means measuring the trends of domestic violence and child maltreatment across different sectors of the population in a systematic way using data that is routinely collected.

Given the role of employment, such public health approaches must be combined with ways to improve employment opportunities by empowering citizens with skills needed for gainful employment. This is especially important as Covid-19 is causing sharp changes in the sectoral demand for labour (some of which will be non-transitory) and some re-training of the labour force will be needed. New entrants to the market need to acquire skills to match the changed employment opportunities. This will require further investment by the state but given the high societal costs of violence, such investment will be cost effective.

Health and wealth have been seen at odds during the current pandemic, when the debate has been about how much we need to trade off one against the other. When it comes to violence reduction they however play a complementary role, with the effect of one reinforcing the other.

Have your say...

  • Ashley Vivian
    1. At 11:50AM on 16 March 2021, Ashley Vivian wrote

    My names are Ashley Vivian, Am here to share a testimony on how Dr Raypower helped me. After a 1/5 year relationship with my boyfriend, he changed suddenly and stopped contacting me regularly, he would come up with excuses of not seeing me all the time. He stopped answering my calls and my sms and he stopped seeing me regularly. I then started catching him with different girls several times but every time he would say that he loved me and that he needed some time to think about our relationship. But I couldn't stop thinking about him so I decided to go online and I saw so many good talks about this spell caster called Dr Raypower and I contacted him and explained my problems to him. He cast a love spell for me which i use and after 24 hours, my boyfriend came back to me and started contacting me regularly and we moved in together after a few months and he was more open to me than before and he started spending more time with me than his friends. We eventually got married and we now have been married happily for 3 years with a son. Ever since Dr Raypower helped me, my partner is very stable, faithful and closer to me than before. You can also contact this spell caster and get your relationship fix Email: or see more reviews about him on his website: WhatsApp: +1 (424) 330-8109

  • anne
    2. At 2:18AM on 07 September 2021, anne wrote


     Hi everyone, I'm here to testify about a powerful spell caster (LORD SHAIBU) who helped me get my ex back. I was so depressed and devastated when my boyfriend left me. It was like my entire world was  vanishing into sorrow and pain. I wanted him back so desperately. A friend of mine told me about this powerful spell caster (LORD SHAIBU) who helped her in the past, i was skeptical at first until i came across a post online about this same spell caster (LORD SHAIBU). I contacted him and he promised to get my ex back to me. True to his words, he brought my boyfriend back. My boyfriend came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promised never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I am forever grateful to LORD SHAIBU. To anyone with marital problems, divorce issues,business problems, lost lover or any relationship related issues, you can contact (LORD SHAIBU) the ultimate spell caster. Contact him via Email: or directly on whatsapp +1(559) 869-5850


  • Libby Eva
    3. At 8:55PM on 20 September 2021, Libby Eva wrote

    Save Your Relationship and Get Your Ex Boyfriend/Girlfriend Back! contact: +1(662)-493-2087 is certainly the best spell caster online and his result is 100% guarantee… I don't know how to really thank Dr. PATRICK for what he did for me. My Name is Libby Eva from the UK, i have been dating this man who I loved very much for over four years now without any problem in our relationship. so at a point he changed so suddenly after returning from the office and started behaving so strangely. it even got to the extent that he told me it was over and i should never call him again. This was a person that loved me with everything that he had. When I told my friend Jenny what happened, she introduced me to a great spell caster called DR PATRICK, the chief priest of all spell caster. At first sight this man told me all my problems. It was his secretary that used a charm on him. Dr PATRICK told me not to worry that he will help me solve the problem. The following day, I was in the house in a sober mood when I first received a message from my boyfriend that he was very sorry and before I dropped the phone, he called me again to say he was on his way home and that he was truly sorry for everything. To my greatest surprise, one week later he engaged me and we got married. All Thanks to DR PATRICK. You can contact him through the following means


    Mobile Number: +1 662 493 2087


    Facebook pages

  • judithkhanli
    4. At 5:02PM on 29 September 2021, wrote

    this is unbelievable, it is my first time to be carried away by such a high profile article, I will immediately contact you directly and also to take the advantage to share some latest information about

    Bexuniversal is in affiliation with sony in the sales of play station 5 best buy ps5 and xbox series x and many are not yet informed of this life changing opportunity of grabbing a ps5 or xbox series x it worth a look, you can simply join our 179.3k members TELEGRAM GROUP

    to share with us your ideas or any latest update on your blog or to learn more about getting a PS5 OR XBOX SERIES X

    Thanks I am JAME from Bexuniversal , we are expecting you on our platform

    text/whatsapp:+1(716) 241-1845 wickr cureman

  • anneliese richard
    5. At 10:57PM on 08 October 2021, anneliese richard wrote


    Hi everyone, Am Mrs. Anneliese Richard from United State, with so much joy in my heart I feel grateful to Lord Odume for bringing joy back to my life again. I was lost in my own world when my husband left me after 7years of marriage with no explanation. I was in tears I had a plan to commit suicide just because I so much love my husband. His absence at home caused me pain, and I was all alone thinking all day. My colleagues at work kept asking and wondering what is wrong with me all the time, I kept hiding it from them, because I don’t want to discuss about my family issues, but there is this friend of mine, a colleague at work who came to me and asked me, what the problem is and she also vow to keep it as a secret as a friend so I told her what happened to me and my husband, so she told me how Lord Odume has helped her get her relationship together problem and asked her how sure are you with this? She told me 100% sure. So I contacted him on August 18th 2021 to explain my problem to him then he said to I shouldn’t be troubled as long as we follow the due procedures. After I did all he asked me to do he told me I will get him back in 24hrs. To my greatest surprise my husband came back home to apologies to me and my kids to accept him back. With no hesitation I accepted him back. I’ll forever be grateful to lord odume I'm so full of joy right now. If you have any problem you can contact Lord Odume. I believe Lord Odume Will have a solution to your problem you can contact him Here’s his contact:


    WhatsApp: +2349035123289

    6. At 11:04PM on 21 October 2021, KATHRINE MELNICK wrote


    Hi everyone I’m here to testify of a great and powerful spell caster called Lord Zulu. I was so confused and devastated when my husband left me without a word, I needed him back desperately because I loved him so much. So a friend of mine introduced me to this powerful spell caster who had helped her in getting her lover back, so I contacted him and he promised that in less than 72 hours he will come back to me. After I did all he asked, to my greatest surprise my husband who had refused to speak with me came to my house and asked for forgiveness for all he had made me go through and now we are living happily together, if you have any relationship problem I will advise you contact him for your testimonies. Below are his contact details. Contact him on WhatsApp @ +1(424)361‑7554.





Add Your Feedback