3,000 knife crimes in Wolverhampton in past 10 years
There have been more than 3,000 recorded knife crimes in Wolverhampton in the past 10 years, new figures reveal.
On average, there are six knife crimes every week in the city.
They have included a terrifying city centre brawl near the bus station and Britannia Hotel last April and the murder of factory worker Tom Kirwan, who was was knifed to death outside the Uberra Club in July 2012.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Express & Star reveal that between 2005 and 2014 there were 3,103 knife offences.
The year 2005 was the worst, with 445 recorded offences. There were 435 in 2006 and 429 in 2008. In 2014, the number fell to 135 - the lowest in the 10-year period.
The worst area was Wolverhampton city centre with 386 crimes involving a blade.
This was followed by Ettingshall, where there were 196, and Graiseley and Heath Town where there were 146.
The safest areas were Tettenhall Wightwick, where there were just two knife crimes, Wednesfield North where there were seven, and Tettenhall Regis where there were nine.
Superintendent Mike O'Hara, from Wolverhampton Police, said: "Clearly we never want a member of the public to become a victim of crime, especially offences involving violence or weapons. That said, these figures provided to the Express and Star provide a really positive story about the safety of the community in Wolverhampton.
"Knife crime across the whole of Wolverhampton is down even more significantly from 445 in 2005 to just 135 in 2014."
Knife crime covers a knife or any other sharp instrument and the definition states that any instrument piercing the skin should be included. This could include a dagger, kitchen knife, pen knife, machete, axe, dart, hypodermic needle, needle, pen, sword, broken glass or a razor.
Knife crime includes threats and attempts in addition to actual stabbings, where the victim is convinced of the presence of a knife, even if it is concealed, and there is evidence of the suspect's intention to create this impression.
Supt O'Hara added: "I think it should also be highlighted that the 'real' number of knife related incidents will be even lower than these statistics intimate.
"This is because we include all crimes where any sharp instrument such as a pen, pin or some broken glass was involved. They also include offences where no weapon was used but where there was a threat to use such a weapon.
"For a city the size of Wolverhampton with its population density and varying levels of deprivation, this shows the really positive work that has taken place between Wolverhampton Police, key partners and the community. These figures should be received positively, but with the acknowledgement that we will continue to work hard to drive these offences down even further."
One of the most high-profile crimes is the murder of Tom Kirwan.
The 23-year-old was knifed to death outside the Uberra Club in the early hours of July 8, 2012.
Despite numerous police appeals for information, no-one has stood before a court charged with his murder.
Last year, five people were locked up for taking part in trouble outside Uberra club that took place just a few feet away from where Mr Kirwan was killed. Another man accused of being involved in the fighting was acquitted in June.
In March, three teenagers involved in a terrifying city centre brawl which saw a gun fired and a hammer and knife brandished were locked up.
The violence took place in the city centre streets and ended up in the foyer of the Britannia Hotel. A gun was fired and a youth was stabbed, while a 17-year-old girl was hit with a hammer.
Following convictions, two teenagers were given detention and training orders, another was detained in a Young Offenders Institution, while a fourth defendant was given a youth rehabilitation order under supervision. A fifth teenager agreed to be bound over for 12 months.
Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds said: "It is welcome news that the number of knife crimes in Wolverhampton has fallen over the last 10 years. However, the numbers do not reflect the nature and severity of the offences committed.
"Some knife crime attacks are fatal and I have worked with a number of families who have lost loved ones. There is also still much work to do to further reduce the number of offences, and I support the work that West Midlands Police are doing to tackle knife crime."
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