09:11 GMT24 June 2021
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    Young people are up to 180 percent more likely to attack someone, if a friend has done so previously, according to new research from the US.

    A paper, entitled 'Violence is Like a Contagious Disease: The Spread of Violence Through Social Networks,' looked at the issue of young people and how they are more likely to attack someone compared to other age groups. 

    Professor Robert Bond, one of the researchers from Ohio state University who worked on the paper, said that the new study shows just how rampant violence can be. 

    "This study shows just how contagious violence can be. Acts of violence can ricochet through a community, travelling through networks of friends," Professor Bond said in a recent interview. 

    Professor Bond said the research shows why the prevention of violence is so very important.

    The US study looked at information from 6,000 young people aged 12 to 18, who all took part in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the 1990s.

    The adolescents were asked how often in the past 12 months they had been in a serious physical fight, how often they hurt someone badly enough to need medical attention and how often they had pulled a knife or gun on someone.

    ​They were 183 percent more like to have hurt someone badly, 140 percent more likely to have drawn a weapon and 48 percent more likely to have been in a serious fight, if they had a friend who had done something similar.

    "We now have evidence that shows how important social relationships are to spreading violent behavior, just like they are for spreading many other kinds of attitudes and behaviors," Professor Bond said.

    ​"If we can stop violence in one person that spreads to their social network. We're actually preventing violence not only in that person, but potentially for all the people they come in contact with," Professor Bond said in a recent interview.

    The issue of violence is a major concern in the UK, where there's been an increase in knife crime, especially in London, which has seen stabbings go up by a staggering 20 percent. In fact, the number of young people caught up in violent crime in London has reached its highest level in four years, according to a recent report.

    Violent crimes which involve knives, guns, sexual assault, robbery — or all four — have risen year on year, increasing by four percent between 2015 and 2016 — and by 20 percent between 2012 and 2013.

    More than a quarter of all victims are young women or girls and it appears knives have become and are increasingly deployed as the weapon of choice.

    The London riots of 2011 involved thousands of people, most of them youngsters, who rioted in several London boroughs across England. The riots were sparked following the death of Mark Duggan, a local man who was shot dead by police in August 2011.

    Firefighters - High Road Tottenham & Lansdowne Road
    Firefighters - High Road Tottenham & Lansdowne Road

    The resulting chaos generated looting, arson and mass deployment of police, which led to the death of five people.

    The recent findings, pointing to a correlation between violence and the age group that is more prone to violent outbursts, only highlights the importance of preventative measures needed to help curb the increase and to educate adolescents on the danger of crime.


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    assaults, sociological survey, violent crime, younger generation, crime, knives, robbery, teens, guns, society, stabbing, police, study, science, US, United Kingdom, London
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