he rise in violent incidents on the streets of London has prompted a wave of discussion about what causes crime among young people. The closure of children’s services, cuts to police budgets, social media and drill music have all been blamed.
No doubt there’s something comforting about believing crime has simple causes, which suggest simple solutions. But the evidence attests that deep-rooted socio-economic, political and structural issues lie at the heart of this problem. And they are not going to disappear by regulating social media, censoring music or increasing the numbers of police on the streets.
What is needed is a strategy to address the conditions that give rise to crime: inequality, lack of opportunity, squashed aspiration and the marginalisation of disadvantaged communities. But to get to this point, politicians – and society at large – are going to need to overcome the prejudices held against “troubled” and “troublesome” young people.