Is knife seizure imagery an effective crime deterrent? A multi-method study

Cogan, N. and Chin-Van Chau, Y. and Russell, K. and Linden, W and Swinson, N. and Eckler, P. and Knifton, L. and Jordan, V. and Williams, D. and Carney, S. and Sharp, M. and Hunter, S. C. (2021) Is knife seizure imagery an effective crime deterrent? A multi-method study. In: 22nd Annual Conference of European Society of Criminology, 2021-09-08 - 2021-09-10, Online.

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The urgency to reduce knife carrying has been recognised by the police services in Scotland and has been addressed by the introduction of various initiatives to deter knife carrying and crime. One tactic includes the sharing of knife seizure images, where pictures of knives recovered by police are shared on media outlets, however, little research has explored whether this is an effective deterrent. The study sought to explore adults' views of the use of knife images as a deterrent to carrying knives utilising a multi-method approach: (1) a cross-sectional online survey (n= 553), and (2) individual, online semi-structured interviews with adults (n = 20). Fearful, worried and angry reactions towards the use of knife seizure images were expressed among adults and concern was raised that the use of such images may reinforce rather than deter knife carrying. Adults expressed concerns that the use of such images served to reinforce negative stereotypes and stigma within communities affected by high knife crime. The implications of these findings emphasise the limitations to the use of knife seizure images as a deterrent against knife carrying and the importance of community involvement in developing preventative and non-discriminatory approaches to tackling knife carrying throughout Scotland.


Cogan, N. ORCID logoORCID:, Chin-Van Chau, Y., Russell, K. ORCID logoORCID:, Linden, W, Swinson, N., Eckler, P. ORCID logoORCID:, Knifton, L. ORCID logoORCID:, Jordan, V., Williams, D. ORCID logoORCID:, Carney, S., Sharp, M. and Hunter, S. C.;