Police Attempt to Get Citizens to Turn in Knives Backfires After Thieves Steal All the Knives

“The knife surrender bin in Weston was broken into by a number of people.”

Police in the British county of Somerset are investigating after a knife surrender bin in Weston was broken into and all the knives were stolen.

According to local Police Chief Jon Biggins, multiple people were responsible for breaking into the bin and stealing its contents around the middle of March, the Somerset County Gazette reported.

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“On the evening of March 13, the knife surrender bin in Weston was broken into by a number of people,” Biggins said. “The contents were recovered a short distance away, and the whole incident was caught on CCTV.”

Police are still trying to identify the suspects.

Police came implemented the knife-surrender campaign in response to a 52% spike in knife crime last year, a trend that has plagued the U.K. in recent years.

Across all of England and Wales, knife crime is up 22% from 2017, while gun related crimes have risen 11%. Perhaps more concerning, the murder rate in London specifically has risen 44%, according to data released by local police.

Some experts blame British Prime Minister Theresa May’s 2014 policy to scale back “stop-and-search” tactics as a reason for the increase in crime.

Under the new rules, police are only allowed to search individuals if they have “reasonable grounds” to suspect someone is carrying a weapon or illegal drugs.

As a result, police executed 303,845 stop-and-searches between 2016 and 2017, down 21% from the previous year.

For some police departments, the solution has been to attempt to get people to voluntarily surrender weapons before they are used in a crime. Many experts, however, are skeptical of the efficacy of such voluntary surrender and weapon buyback programs.

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John Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, argued that buyback programs rarely work because most of the weapons sold are in poor condition – this makes it unlikely that they’ll ever be used in the commission of a crime. Meanwhile, criminals can use the programs to ditch weapons used in a crime and simultaneously make money off of them.

Coming to a similar conclusion, studies of Sacramento and San Francisco’s gun buyback programs found the policies were not effective. According to researchers, only those who were least likely to commit crimes voluntarily surrendered their firearms. More critically, the studies showed there was no significant reduction in gun-related homicides after the programs were implemented.

More recently, New Zealand attempted to get citizens to voluntarily surrender their firearms after a deadly terrorist attack at a Christchurch mosque left over 50 people dead. However, reports showed only a fraction of New Zealand’s gun owners participated in the voluntary surrender program.

New Zealand would eventually move to ban assault weapons completely a week after the massacre.

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