17 Sep As society opens up, Crimestoppers appeals for anonymous information on those carrying weapons in Essex
With society returning to something closer to normal, the charity Crimestoppers has launched an urgent appeal for information on those people in Essex carrying weapons.
Last November, Crimestoppers ran its first-ever Silence Won’t Stop Violence campaign which saw the public respond positively and anonymously. Information on gangs rose by 17%, County Lines up by 15%, cuckooing up by two-thirds and information on firearms rose by 5% compared to the period prior to the appeal.
Whilst official statistics reveal knife crime has now fallen for four quarters in a row, we should not become complacent. Last year:
275 people lost their life to a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales
4,620 people were admitted to hospitals in England for attacks by sharp objects.
As the pandemic continues to impact the NHS, we should all help protect communities and health service from harm.
In 2019, over half of violent incidents across the UK were not reported to the police. Crimestoppers believes that Silence Won’t Stop Violence and is informing the public across Essex that everyone has the means and a voice to anonymously speak up to help stop or solve violent crime. Indeed, last year our charity passed on over 4,300 anonymous pieces of information about all crime types given to us from the people of Essex.
The pandemic has also put young people in a vulnerable position, due to a lack of employment opportunities. In 2020, referrals of children suspected to be victims of County Lines gangs increased by 31%*.
Young people are at a greater risk of being exploited by these gangs due to false promises of easy money. We want to raise awareness amongst our older digital audiences of our youth service, Fearless.org, to ensure that anyone, regardless of age, feels comfortable speaking up and telling us what they know.
Here are some anonymised examples of information the charity has recently received nationally:
Heroin and crack cocaine dealers, who carried knives and guns, arrested and charged after information we passed on led police to find thousands of pounds in cash, along with guns, ammunition and a large quantity of class A drugs.
Suspects arrested thanks to Crimestoppers information regarding a violent attack on group of young people where baseball bats and knives caused serious injuries including knife wounds.
Individual stopped in his car after anonymous information we had received over weapons which led police to discover a number of knives and an imitation firearm.
Dangerous on the run individual wanted for firearms offences and for causing serious injury found thanks to anonymous information our charity received following an appeal.
For more information about the campaign, please visit our website.
Philip Breckon, Eastern Regional Manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “With violence and gang crime being a persistent, but preventable problem, our charity is relaunching our campaign and supporting a public health approach to tackling violence. This means recognising it requiring a society-wide response, so we are encouraging people in Essex – who are in the know about those carrying weapons or involved in violent crime – to not be silenced, but to speak up anonymously.
“We know that you may be personally close to crime but may also want to do the right thing and bring violence in your community to an end. No matter how far down the wrong road you’ve gone – you can ALWAYS turn back. You do have options. You have the ability to prevent violent crime through telling us what you know in advance of planned violent attacks, or passing on information that can help solve crime and bring justice to victims and their families.
“Our aim is to drive people to report what they know about violent crime incidents or planned attacks using our unique anonymous reporting service, via Crimestoppers-uk.org, by calling freephone 0800 555 111, or for young people to use Fearless.org. Together, we can help reduce the harm caused to young lives and communities across the country.”