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View from the chamber: Violent crime is devastating, we must all make it a thing of the past

PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 October 2018

Archant

Most of us go about our daily lives without having to give much thought to our personal safety. For the vast majority of people, crime is something we see on the news. But for some, it is an all too real and frequent threat. For a few, it can be a brutal tragic reality.

Over 300,000 men, women and children make their home in this normally happy, hard-working and vibrant borough. Yet, in the year to September, there were 165 reported cases of assault involving an offensive weapon. That’s 165 life-changing events. Victims left scarred, physically, mentally, and emotionally; perpetrators caught, prosecuted, and punished; and loved ones’ lives turned upside down on both sides.

When thousands gathered in Roundwood Park in the summer in remembrance of 15-year-old Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes, we were all reminded of the devastating effects of knife crime in our communities.

Now, Quamari’s parents – Lillian and Paul – have put their support behind an important anti-knife crime campaign, #BrentNeedsYouAlive. No one should have to go through the utter devastation that Lillian and Paul, and countless others, have had to experience. And yet they continue to campaign for a knife-free society with fervour and a genuine message to our young people that knives destroy two sets of lives – the victims and also the perpetrators.

There is no monopoly on good ideas; we need imagination, determination and drive to stop people carrying deadly weapons in our borough. We are not up against overwhelming odds. These are problems that can be solved, but only if we are each willing to take collective responsibility for doing so.

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