Seeing your friend knifed down and murdered in the street is just an inevitable part of growing up, according to youngsters in the UK.
Teenagers are becoming increasingly ‘desensitised’ to the slayings and are ambivalent towards the often fatal consequences of carrying a blade, charity Ben Kinsella Trust warned.
It comes in the wake of two murders, one involving a samurai-style sword, in 24 hours in south London.
Patrick Green, the charity’s manager said: ‘With young people who are offending or are on the cusp of offending, we’re seeing a hardening of attitudes around knife crime.
‘There is an inevitability for them that this is a part of life – it’s an occupational hazard.
‘There is a sense that they are becoming increasingly desensitised when it comes to knife crime – there is little or no thought going towards the consequences.
‘And for 14 to 17 year olds, particularly boys, loyalty is everything. Some are prepared to go to prison for 19 years for crime, no problem, as long as they have defended their friend’s honour.
‘There is no thought process for some of them. They believe it is quite possible that they will be stabbed or will stab. That is a big worry.’
Police confirmed the killings of Jermaine Goupall, a 15 year old in Thornton Heath, south London, and 19-year-old Daniel Namanga, who was killed in Peckham, south east London.
They were the 14th and 15th teenagers fatally stabbed or shot in London this year.
Mr Green said increased police patrols were only a short-term unsustainable plaster on the problem, and that early intervention and positive role models were key to getting young people out of crime.
He said: ‘When we’re working with boys, they talk about people like (Anthony) Joshua – that’s the name we keep hearing.
‘They see what he’s done, he’s made a good life for himself and he’s worked very hard to get to that stage.
‘They like him, respect him, look up to him. We want more of that, we want people to see young people making a success of their lives the same way he has.
‘The girls also have positive role models – pop stars, people in the media.
‘But a lot of it is also about early intervention – we want conversations in schools, people talking about the consequences of knife crime and seeing there is an alternative. There doesn’t have to be an inevitability to this.’
The trust was set up by former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella, whose 16-year-old brother was knifed to death after he had been to a north London bar with friends celebrating the end of their GCSE exams in June 2008.