In the near-decade since Dying to Belong was published in 2009, gangs have remained a part of life in Britain. At the time, we estimated there were 50,000 gang members across Britain, today that number is estimated to be closer to 70,000.
In London, the focus of this report, the police estimate that there are up to 250 gangs and 4,500 members. While gangs are not responsible for all serious violence, they commit far more than their fair share. It is estimated that gangs are responsible for as much as half of all knife crime with injury, 60 per cent of shootings, and 29 per cent of reported child sexual exploitation.
The social and economic costs of serious violence are enormous — and for those left to pick up the pieces, the trauma and distress is almost impossible to measure. In 2003 the Home Office estimated the economic and social costs of each homicide to be £1.5 million, a figure that was subsequently updated to £1.8 million in 2010. Adjusting for inflation to 2017 prices, we estimate that the cost of a homicide today is £2.2 million.
We must bring an end to the disastrous effects of gang violence. To this end, this report offers a Group Violence Intervention model, tried and tested globally with proven results.