Knife crime in Canada, UK
The Toronto Globe and Mail has the story.
""All those things we're doing to decrease firearm weapons is cutting down the availability of these guns," says Staff Inspector Brian Raybould, the head of the Toronto police homicide squad. "At the same time, criminals who choose to arm themselves have to find some way to do it. If firearms aren't available, what's the next best thing? Knives, sharp-edged weapons."
Toronto police responded to 167 stabbings up to the end of April, 2008 - in 73 of those cases, the victims were taken to hospital in serious condition. That's up from 58 by April last year.
Still, overall homicide rates - by any method - for Toronto and its suburbs are roughly the same so far this year as they were last year.
In Britain, where Robert Knox, 18, who played schoolmate Marcus Belby in the Harry Potter movies, was stabbed to death with a wood-handled kitchen knife outside a pub last month, it is illegal to carry any knife longer than 7.62 centimetres. It is also illegal to sell a knife of any kind to someone under 18.
Yet stabbings have become an epidemic in Britain. Mr. Knox and more than 30 others died at knifepoint in the first five months of this year. The deaths are just a few of the 100-plus stabbings seen in the country since January, and police say most are committed by young men in their teens or early 20s.
Some experts point to Britain's strict gun laws to explain the surge in violent knifings. It's called the substitution effect, says Jack Levin, co-director of the Brudnick Center on Violence at Northeastern University in Boston.
He has been watching the "fewer guns, more knives" phenomenon for years in the United States."