Thousands of young Scots are 'swiping' to keep safe from violence
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FEARLESS – the youth service of Crimestoppers – has reported a huge increase in young people engaging with their recent youth violence and weapon possession campaign.
In just a three-week period, over 33,000 young people in Scotland swiped from Fearless’ latest Snapchat campaign to the charity’s website at Fearless.org
Once there, young people were able to learn more about the common myths around weapon carrying, the law and listen to podcasts from people with lived experience of serious violence.
Dozens of intelligence reports were submitted 100 per cent anonymously to the charity about people carrying weapons and responsible for other serious crimes.
The campaign was launched in September at Eastbank Academy, Glasgow.
The highly successful Snapchat campaign content was designed entirely by a small group of young people from elsewhere in the city who volunteer with the charity.
Lyndsay McDade, National Youth Projects Co-ordinator at Crimestoppers Scotland, said: "I'm delighted by the results our youth violence campaign.
"It shows the sheer scale of young people’s willingness to engage; recognising that the issue of violence and weapon possession needs to improve and wanting to play their part in making their community safer.
"Young people have so much talent to offer. When we focus on a tiny fraction of young people making unsafe choices, it can be easy to forget that the vast majority want to be, and indeed are, part of the solution.
"Fearless provides a very clear call to action for young people. We make it easy to speak up about crime by providing a way to do so 100 per cent anonymously through our website Fearless.org or by calling us on 0800 555 111. That means you don't need to worry about the stigma sometimes associated with reporting, the potential retaliation and so on. We can't track your IP address or any contact details so nobody will know the information came from you but you will make lives safer.
"I am immensely proud of the service we offer at Fearless.org and how we empower young people in Scotland to feel confident speaking up about crime."
One young person who was involved in the design of the Snapchat content said: "I know people who are in gangs and have knives and stuff and I know someone my age who was stabbed recently.
“Something needs to be done and I cannae get rid of like the gangs or anything but helping with this was fine. I'm really happy there was a good response."
Chief Superintendent Derek Frew from Police Scotland’s Partnerships, Preventions and Community Wellbeing Division, added: “Carrying or using a knife can have a devastating impact on our communities.
"We remain committed to reducing the number of knife-related offences occurring within Scotland and working with partners to educate young people about the risks and consequences associated with such crimes.
“The Fearless campaign allows young people to anonymously report any concerns they have about someone carrying a knife, which, in turn, allows police to investigate and potentially prevent a violent crime involving a bladed weapon.
“We have been extremely encouraged by the engagement from young people throughout Scotland as part of the campaign and are grateful to those who have come forward and provided Fearless with information, for us to follow up on.”