On the 11th October 2019 London’s knife crime epidemic claimed one more life, this time a teenage boy Baptista Adjei. His friend also received injuries, but they are luckily non-life threatening. Baptista was a fifteen-year-old school boy who was stabbed outside McDonald’s in the old Stratford centre. The killing happened in broad daylight at around 3:20 pm after he had popped into McDonald’s for a post school snack. He died in his school uniform.


The next day I ventured down to Westfield and discussed London’s knife crime situation with passers-by near Stratford station. Here is the most poignant reply that I receive; Elijah, around my age maintained that “it’s normal, that shit happens in these ends.” An elderly resident voiced her fear; “I don’t feel safe. My husband, who uses a wheelchair certainly doesn’t. All these gangs and fighting, it needs to stop.”


Although alarming, Baptista is but one example of the victims of knife rime which has swept through London in recent years. So far in 2019 there have been over 110 violent deaths in the capital as of September. Often these are a result of postcode wars and gang rivalry but sometimes in sinister gang initiation. Jodie Chesney was knifed to death in Romford on March 1 of this year. Some believe the attack to have been an act of ‘proving loyalty’ to a gang, an initiation.


The swathe of knife crime victims seems to be growing yet the government is yet to demonstrate any urgency. Perhaps if knife crime was recognised as the epidemic that it is by declaring an emergency meeting, the discussion may be unlocked as to what can be done to end stabbings on our streets.


Hannah Zia