Knife violence on the rise in Denmark

On January 5th, a 19-year-old man, was stabbed to death in Copenhagen when he refused to part with his woollen hat. His death at the hands of a group of young people has shocked the country and inspired a wave of protests and outcries amounts both politicians and the general population who see rates of violence in Denmark spiralling out of control.

In 2008 to date, there have already been 13 recorded knifings in Denmark, including two which resulted in death. In such a small country, the high numbers indicate a serious problem.

Anton Njie Hansen, was one of those who died this year. He was stabbed to death in Kongens Nytorv square, an upmarket area of Copenhagen, after refusing to hand over his hat to a group of youths.

Three people, aged 19 to 21, were arrested following the incident and may receive up to ten years in jail if convicted.

On the night that Hansen was killed, there were 3 other violent incidents involving either knives or iron bars, and the number of reported incidents per year seems to be rising. In 2000, police figures record only 793 indictments for assault in the whole of Denmark whereas 2006 saw that figure rise to 1,176.

Strict laws on the ownership of guns mean that knives are often the preferred weapon. Owning a hobby knife has been popular in Denmark, meaning that large number of people own potential weapons.

On January 16th, a large funeral was held in honour of the dead teenager. Fifteen year old Lene, who attended the funeral, said, “You just can’t be afraid, you can’t go around thinking that Copenhagen has become a dangerous city otherwise all the teenagers will carry knives with them when they go out.”

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