Former American National Football League player Jesse “Tha Monstar” Williams has helped launch a campaign aimed at reducing knife-related crime in the Moreton Bay Region.
Campaign ambassador Williams joined Police and Corrective Services Minister and Morayfield MP Mark Ryan, Mayor Peter Flannery, Petrie MP Luke Howarth and local police at the launch of “I live my life without a knife” at the Redcliffe Area Youth Space.
District Come Prevention Co-ordinator Sergeant Sarah Grayson says the campaign is part of a state-wide approach to empower young people to make better choices about carrying a knife.
“The project has been adapted for the local area after a spike in knife-related crime across the Moreton Policing District,” Sgt Grayson says.
Across the state, knife carrying offences have increased over the past five years, growing 8 percent each year between 2015 and 2019.
Robberies involving knives increased by about 19 percent each year in the same period and in 2019 they almost doubled compared with 2015.
Sgt Grayson says the campaign was initially run in Logan, where it showed a marked reduction in knife-related crime.
She says Clontarf teen Angus Beaumont, who died after being stabbed at Redcliffe in March last year, was the inspiration behind the program launching in Moreton Bay and that his parents attended the launch.
“They’re very supportive of raising awareness to stop other families going through what they’re going through,” Sgt Grayson says.
“A lot of kids that carry them don’t seem to understand what could happen if they pull a knife out and stab someone,” she says.
Acting Superintendent Paul Ready says knife crime is a concern in parts of the community, and education is critical to preventing offences.
“We want to educate young people and encourage them to make better choices around carrying a knife and consider other solutions to carrying a knife in a public place,” Acting Supt Ready says.
“Some young people say they have a knife for self-defence, but this is not classified as a ‘reasonable excuse’ to carry a knife.
“Young people who carry knives for protection may in fact be putting their own safety at risk due to the likelihood of having the knife used against them or in some other knife-related crime.”