Psychology and Criminology students perceptions of knife crime and related peer pressure

Feb 15, 2024

Psychology and Criminology students perceptions of knife crime and related peer pressure


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Knife crimes present a wide range of crimes where offenders use a knife to inflict injury on another person. Notably, there is a significant increase in knife crimes in the UK, although most reports and statistics do not separately identify such crimes. A knife as a weapon is easily accessible. Haylock et al. (2020) also reiterate that knife crime rates are relatively higher than other crimes since knives are easy to conceal, unlike weapons such as firearms. A previous study by Skarlatidou et al. (2021) demonstrates that knife crimes are increasingly associated with assault and homicides, making the proposed research topic essential in exploring this under-researched subject. Additionally, Grimshaw and Ford (2018) point out that policy gaps in controlling knife crime are only incorporated in some pieces of legislation, making policies inadequate in restricting the sale, carrying, use and production of knives. Thus, this proposed study will respond to some gaps identified in the existing policies and literature by presenting first-hand information on the subject. The study will also highlight the existing loopholes in the enforcement of the policies on knife crime.
Notably, the study will use purpose sampling to target university students as the sources of information. According to Etikan et al. (2016), purposive sampling allows a researcher to select the ideal respondents, increasing the study’s effectiveness in responding to the specific topic under investigation. The reason for the target group is backed up by Skarlatidou et al.’s (2021) study demonstrating that young people are more susceptible to peer pressure. Additionally, university students can comprehend the research topic and respond most appropriately to the questions. Similarly, Bailey et al. (2020) point out that knife crimes are mostly associated with young adults – university students will provide a good representation of the young adults. University students will also enable the researcher to collect a wide range of responses due to the diversity in the socio-cultural and economic backgrounds of the respondents. In doing so, the study stands a high chance of providing unique information on the subject, adding to the study’s significance in understanding the psychology behind knife crimes. Concurrently, the study will collect primary data through interviews and focus groups. Primary data is specific and less exposed to biases that may result in misleading conclusions (Rahman, 2021). Hyman and Sierra (2016) point out that using interviews as a tool for data collection allows the researcher to seek clarifications and collect detailed information from the respondents. The researcher can also establish and control possible biases in responses. On the other hand, focus groups will enable the researcher to identify shared perceptions on the variables under investigation. Focus groups contribute to generalised findings while providing essential primary information on the research topic (Mishra, 2016). Similarly, focus groups will be ideal since the study targets individuals within a given age group – university students – making it relatively easy to set up such groups and initiate conversations. Adopting primary research methods also contributes to the study’s replicability and reliability, making it ideal in responding to the identified research problem.

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