LONDON, the capital of violent crime?
You must be joking! Why only a very few years ago one could walk these historic city streets in relative safety. But no more. London is beginning to look more and more like Houston, Texas, and New York City every single day.
"The Capital of Crime," screamed out the headlines of the Evening Daily. "London suffered its worst crime wave last year and there was a staggering 20 percent increase in robberies and muggings," followed the bold subtitle.
But why is this famous old British city caught up in such an unprecedented violent crime wave?
Not Only Brixton It exploded first in unprecedented racial turmoil in the Brixton district of south London. The intensity of this racial disturbance was unprecedented in Britain in this century. But elsewhere, too, brutal thugs increasingly prey on the aged all over the city. And then there is the mounting violence within the once friendly confines of the British home. Cases of child battering by frustrated parents rose by almost a third last year. Serious societies have sprung up to try to help protect unfortunate wives whose husbands beat them up on a regular basis.
Schools are another case in point. Senseless vandals regularly rip up school property for no apparent reason. Add to this the vicious student assaults on teachers that are far from uncommon in inner London districts. And all that is not to speak of the ugly problem of bullying on the typical British playground today.
In looking over the entire crime scenario in Britain, numbers by themselves are not the most important factor. It is the character of the crimes committed that should cause us the most concern. London has long had a reputation as a haven for professional pickpockets with, perhaps, many of these crimes going unreported. However, any harm to the person of the victim happened only on rare occasions.
Nearly all authorities now agree, however, that the trend toward violence against the person (often accompanying robberies) has increased significantly in Britain. For instance, medical doctors have noticed that horrifying stab wounds are on the increase just in the last two or three years. Juveniles now tend to arm themselves with anything from a kitchen knife to a screwdriver.
But Why? The big question nearly always centers upon that little three letter word why.
Most press reports inevitably center on environmental causes. Unemployment is perhaps most often mentioned as a causal factor in the current rash of violent crimes.
And while Mrs. Thatcher is certainly correct in her statement that unemployment did not cause the Brixton riots, soaring joblessness did generate angry frustration and general unrest among the young people in Brixton. High unemployment is, of course, especially acute among the West Indian population.
Tension between the police and young people is another oft-mentioned environmental causal factor. Whether rightly or wrongly, young black people in Brixton believe the police force has little use for them. And it just may be that relations between the police and young people have been allowed to regress over the past 10 years. Metropolitan Police Commissioner
Sir David McNee has recently taken measures to increase police involvement in the community's needs. For instance 63 Panda cars were withdrawn from service in central London in favor of returning the London bobby to foot patrols. Sir David hit upon the root core, environmental factor when he recently stated that "there is an obligation of parents to instill into their children a sense of responsibility." The Sunday Telegraph put it this way: "The missing element in the Brixton equation as set out so far is surely this, the young blacks, together with some whites of the borough, have slipped completely from the control of their parents..." (April 19, 1981).
It is axiomatic that the authorities cannot stop crime by themselves. Ultimately it is the public's responsibility. And the fundamental arm of the public is each individual family unit. If enough families fail to exercise their basic responsibility to properly educate their children, criminal anarchy is the ultimate result.
"Honour your father and your mother" is the fifth of the Ten Commandments. It heads the list of those commandments that are concerned with community relations. If young people really honor and respect their parents, it follows that they will also honor and respect civic authorities. But that does not happen automatically. Children must first be taught to honor their father and mother. That is an inherent familial responsibility incumbent upon the parents.
More and more parents are obviously failing to bring up their children properly. They neglect to teach their children the Ten Commandments. Too many young people are simply not taught respect for the person and property of others. Why?
The reasons are numerous. Perhaps their parents' parents did not teach them. Perhaps economic pressures have forced a wife and mother into the job market instead of being at home to educate and discipline the children. Perhaps the father is a poor example and even an alcoholic. It may be a combination of many factors.
The Failure of Religion Undergirding the overall failure of parents to train their offspring is the appalling decline of religious influence in the United Kingdom. The clergy has been invested with the responsibility of teaching society to observe the Ten Commandments.
Unfortunately some pastors have been in the forefront of actually undermining the authority of this basic law. The broad majority have spoken too softly and without sufficient moral authority. Only a few have boldly warned the country of the dire consequences of continuing on the course that the British people are following.
And the people are not without blame. The nation at large tends to center its attention almost exclusively on secular matters.
But we are still writing about the environmental causes of the crime problem. There is another side to the story.
Physiological research indicates that certain areas deep within man's mind are centers of aggression. While it is true that violence is learned in the home, on the street and from the media, the potential for rebellion is apparently already present in the psychological construction of human beings. Although a child is not inherently evil from birth, the potential for evil most certainly comes into his mind at an early date. Of course, this tendency can either be controlled or amplified by early environmental factors such as positive parental teaching or the lack of it.
The Bible brings out some of these basic truths. The psalmist expresses it in a poetic manner: "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies" (Psalms 58:3). The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah puts it another way. "The heart is deceitful above all things: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
This same fundamental truth is reiterated in the New Testament by the apostle Paul. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7). But is this basic problem rooted in the genetic makeup of the human brain and thereby inherited from our parents, or is there another explanation?
The Unseen Answer Mankind has been unwittingly influenced by a great and powerful spirit being called Satan who pumps his evil attitudes and impulses into our individual minds. The apostle Paul explains how in his letter to the Ephesians: "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom we also had our conversation [conduct] in times past in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others" (Ephesians 2:2-3).
This basic truth is further explained in our attractively printed article entitled, "Human Nature - Did God Create it?" We have never reprinted a more important article when it comes to determining the root cause of all that is hostile within humankind. Please request your copy of this intriguing article by title.
The fundamental solution to the London crime problem or any crime problem anywhere is for each human being to learn to dominate, sublimate and control the wrong impulses being fed into his mind by the unrealized presence of a great fallen angel known as Satan the devil. So much the better if right teaching countering Satan's influences begins almost from birth. Greatly blessed is the man or woman who has been taught to observe the Ten Commandments almost from infancy.
Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Goebbels and Adolph Eichmann were all babies at one time. Could their parents have been convinced that one day they would so tragically affect the world? The proverb says: "Train up [or "educate"] a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). Do you believe that proverb? To the degree that you heed and implement Solomon's advice here is the degree that you assure your children do not wind up as lawbreaking juveniles who are not only a menace to society, but also to themselves.
And do you know how to apply the basic Ten Commandment law governing human conduct to all areas of your life? If not, you should not delay to read our free booklet simply titled The Ten Commandments. This booklet sets out in detail and explains plainly this inexorable living law of God — soon to become the basic code of conduct for the peaceful, prosperous, crimeless, wonderful world tomorrow.