Residents are urging the authorities to come up with long-term solutions to break the cycle of knife crime that has resulted in seven deaths in Sheffield this year alone.
About 40 people packed into a public meeting at Zest community centre in Upperthorpe tonight to raise their concerns about violent crime with Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, and Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield.
They told of their fears after seven fatal stabbings in the city since March – with one of the most recent attacks resulting in the death of 21-year-old Kavan Brissett, who suffered a single stab wound to the chest, just a few streets away from where the meeting was being held.
It also comes after 23-year-old Aseel Al-Essaie was shot dead in a separate attack in Upperthorpe about 18 months ago.
Residents told how people from different generations are fed-up with knife crime and want to see action taken.
One woman said: “A lot of elderly people do not feel safe coming into and out of Upperthorpe – this is what is causing a lot of isolation for older people.”
A youth worker added that the boys and girls he works with also feel “scared and fed-up."
Another youth worker – Lloyd Samuels – welcomed activity programmes such as sports for young people but described these as ‘short-term’ solutions and there needs to be more of a long’term approach.
He suggested a lack of jobs can lead to young people taking the wrong path and called for ‘employment hubs’ to be created in less affluent places like Upperthorpe.
Mr Samuels added: “I feel sorry for the kids because they are surrounded by wealth but how do they generate their own wealth?”
Dr Billings and Mr Blomfield said the authorities in South Yorkshire are now adopting a similar approach to tackling violent crime that has been used successfully in Glasgow.
The Scottish city was branded the ‘murder capital of Europe’ by the World Health Organisation in 2005 but knife crime has plummeted in recent years.
This is thanks to police, council and other agencies working more closely to understand the root causes of crime such as lack of education and employment opportunities.
Dr Billings said while enforcement tactics such as stop and search would remain “in the right proportion”, a joined-up approach by the authorities was the best way forward as “we cannot work in isolation, we have to work together.”