Here is why the knife angel means so much to people in Coventry
Coventry has been named the most dangerous city in the UK
The 27 foot tall knife angel flew from Hull and landed in Coventry this month. On April 23rd it's moving on, off to it's next stop in Gloucester. But there are many people in Coventry who feel like the angel was made for us.
In the perfect position, next the to ghostly angelic pictures on the Cathedral, it's sorrowful face looking down on humanity means a lot to the youth in the city.
The angel, made up of 100,000 confiscated blades from across the country holds great significance here because, as much as many may not want to admit it, Coventry is becoming a terrible hotspot for gang violence and knife crime. Even frequent gun crime has found it's footing here.
It feels like every week there's a new story: the fatal stabbing of Fidel Anderson outside Club M, stabbings on Gosford Street – even a stabbing in Cov uni's own halls of residence. The stabbing of 16 year old Jaydon James last year. It's becoming insane, we're becoming the new London.
Coventry has been named as the most dangerous city in the UK and in the top ten in Europe. Although the list was based on factors including perceived threat of harassment from locals (therefore not making the list wholly accurate) it is still extremely significant.
Coventry Police Superintendent Phil Healy stated: "The knife angel is a powerful, emotive visualisation of the devastating impact knife crime has on young lives […] Knife crime has been made a West Midlands Police force priority […] We need to drive out that culture of people feeling the need to carry knives for their protection.
"We can't arrest our way out of this problem. We need parents to speak to their children – they should know where they are and who they are mixing with – and challenge them if they have suspicions over their behaviour."
Speaking to Coventry students illuminates just how serious the knife problem in Coventry has become. One student told The Coventry Tab she knew a local who carried around a knife. She stated: "One day it just fell out of his pocket. I asked what the hell he carried it around for.
"He shrugged and said 'it's what you have to do'. He wasn't the type to actually want to use it. But I could see how one day, in an altercation, a stupid front to say 'back off' might get heated and he'd actually do it. Because it's never a possibility until you've actually got one."
What these people don't realise is that every time you walk out of the door with a knife in your pocket, you become the problem. Think about it. If two guys have beef and one of them whips out a knife (even if it's just for show) it sends a message of fear to everyone present: you don't want to come empty handed the next time there's tension.
Eventually, someone dies. But if no one brings a knife, sure there'll be a scrap and people will still get hurt, but no one needs to die. It's as simple as that.
If you know someone is carrying a knife or you find yourself in a situation where you feel a stabbing is about to occur, never try to take the knife off the aggressor, try to leave the scene (don't be concerned about pride). Also try to travel with a companion if you can, especially when walking at night. If you witness a stabbing, leave the scene and call an ambulance ASAP. Protect yourself and save a life.
Thank you Alfie Bradley, the creator of the Knife Angel, for giving us a symbol to fight against violence and aggression. We need it.