CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Due to Tougher Gun Laws, Criminals Turn to Knives

From Despite a much-touted reduction in shootings in Boston, police are now confronting a troubling rise in the number of stabbings, which have jumped 10 percent over the same period last year and are on track to reach their highest point in four years.

Savvy criminals, aware of the tougher punishments levied for gun violations, have begun wielding blades instead, Boston law enforcement officials believe.

Gangs are instructing members to carry knives rather than risk an 18-month minimum sentence for possessing an unlawful firearm, Superintendent Daniel P. Linskey said, and more young people are carrying the weapons for protection, then using them to hurt rivals during fights.

"Carrying a knife is not going to expose anyone to a minimum of 18 months or beyond," said Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. "And they're more easily accessible, too. You can pick up a knife at an army-navy store, or mom-and-pop variety store."

Police reported 350 stabbings from Jan. 1 to Sept. 10, which was 10 percent more than in the same period last year. Shootings, meanwhile, plunged nearly 18 percent, from 283 to 233 for the same time period. The number of stabbings through Aug. 26, the latest date for which year-to-year comparisons were available, is at the highest level since 2004. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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