Blaming Youngsters For Crime

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 05/30/2007 - 20:26

Two wee anecdotes:

1. A couple of people I know who live in the Clapton Pond area have recently been the unfortunate victims of crime. One has had his car stolen for the second time in the last year. The other was forced to hand over his motorbike at knifepoint.

This area used to get quite a bit of police attention, and crime in the area was usually blamed on the Palace Pavillion, a nightclub popular with young people, scene of several unpleasant and violent incidents, murder included. But since the police and the Council succeeded in getting the nightclub closed down, it seems that attempts to stop crime in the area have themselves stopped.

It's almost as if the authorities are working to the (false) assumption that once you get rid of the unruly youth, you get rid of crime.

2. The other day, I Googled my own name (yes, I know that sounds very egotistical, but it's more to do with curiosity/paranoia). I came across an anarchistic message board on which people had mentioned my loss of an eye on fireworks night a year-and-a-half ago (the link to anarchism being that Class War had a firework display in the same park that evening). And there someone had written that my injury was caused by kids lobbing fireworks about.

Excuse me, but I have never said, and there is no evidence, that the people responsible for negligently allowing a rocket to fire off sideways and into my right eye were kids. They were about 200m away, it was dark, they have never been identified, and I therefore have no idea how old they were. And yet it is remarkable how many people - from neighbours to colleagues to journalists to anarchists - simply assume that they were youngsters.

Anti-social, harmful behaviour? Must be the youth. And as prejudice and fear spread, the authorities can expect support when they attack young people's rights. Which I'm sure would appal the anarchists.

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