Leading article

Stabbing injury very worrying

Stephen Oreilly

AT TIME of writing it has not been confirmed that those who stabbed a man in Belfast on Christmas morning used a knife. All the information that has been put in the public domain is that the victim had some sort of encounter with a group of three others and suffered a stab wound to the neck.

The 51-year-old was reportedly making his way between the Turf Lodge estate and the Whiterock area when the incident happened at about 11am. Thankfully the man did not suffer a life-threatening injury.

If what happened turned from verbal abuse to the use of a sharp implement or glass it is worrying to think that anyone would use such extreme violence in such a casual way. Any injury caused to the neck by a sharp implement or glass has the potential to be very serious, indeed it could be fatal.

As already stated few of the details of what happened in this instance have been made known. It would therefore be presumptious to assume too much.

However it is an illustration of just how serious the use of sharp implements or glass could be. At the very least such incidents leave victims traumatised and all too often they do result injuries and death.

There is no excuse for such incidents and it is difficult to understand the mindset of people who would go out armed to cause such harm.

Knives are also often used to commit crimes such as robbery, again leaving victims at best traumatised and in the worst cases injured.

Knife crime in London and other major English cities has been very much in the news for some years now. But during 2018 there seemed to be a serious spike in deaths caused by gun and knife use.

In England a lot of thought has gone into solutions to this worrying development which has left many young people dead or injured.

Deterrents such as 'stop and search' and heavy sentences for involvement in such crimes have been suggested, as have preventative outreach educational measures.

It would be very worrying if Belfast and other Irish cities were to follow this trend of increasing knife crime. But it would be unwise not to constantly monitor the levels of such incidents and to be proactive in tackling any trends which such monitoring might illustrate.

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