Police cuts could have led to a rise in violent crime and the media needs to cover knife attacks more, people in Birmingham have told HuffPost UK.
People frequently mentioned policing and crime in their area when asked what they cared about most for HuffPost Listens, a project which saw us go out in the city and listen to people.
The crime rate went up 11% in the West Midlands between April 2016 and March 2017, reflecting a national trend.
Andrea Cleveland said she was worried about speeding traffic in her neighbourhood which had led to deaths, including of a young man recently.
Kieran Quinlan, who was stabbed in the heart and is now hoping to start his own charity to help troubled young people through sports, felt there needs to be more media coverage of knife crime.
The penalties for carrying a knife may not be harsh enough, according to Tom Treacy, who said he had friends who carried knives when he was younger, who felt they had to do so for protection.
The current penalty is up to four years in prison.
Matt Nation suspected a rise in cuts to frontline police officers - West Midlands Police is the “smallest in its history” after losing 2,300 officers since 2010 - could be contributing to a rise in violent crime.
He cited an African proverb to share his feeling that young people who do not feel supported by society could commit more crime: “The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth”.
Oliver Bain feels Birmingham is “getting as bad as London” for violent crimes.
Youssef Bassass is from Morocco and has been stopped several times by the police who asked for his ID, so he carries his passport with him at all times. But he said he doesn’t mind this: “I love the police.”
HuffPostListens – Birmingham
HuffPost wants to get out of the media bubble and tell the real story of the UK. For one week in July we relocated our newsroom to the heart of Birmingham and invited people to tell us what they care about - we listened, followed their tips, and went out and reported on what we heard. We’re also hiring more reporters out of London, starting in Birmingham. We don’t think the media has listened to people enough, so that’s what we’re doing. Listening to the stories of Birmingham, opening up our newsroom to its people and telling the real story of Britain from the heart of one of its biggest and best cities. You decide the news. We’ll tell your story. Birmingham, be heard. #HuffPostListens
Read more about the project here