“I have a large knife. Just bought it. Well, someone else bought the knife for me.” Sam is only 14 years old, but is already walking down the street with a large knife. “For safety,” he says. He is not the only one: West Frisian youth worker Gina notices that carrying weapons is ‘normalising’ in her region.

    Adobe Stock

    In the municipality of Stede Broec en Drechterland, a hand-in action for stabbing weapons will start today. Not only in large cities, but also in the West Frisian villages, young people appear to be walking the streets with large knives more and more often. That’s illegal and dangerous, find both municipalities and youth workers.

    Sam*, who often stays in Hoogkarspel and Venhuizen, is a boy of few words. When asked why he has a large knife in his pocket, he says, “I’m afraid someone is attacking me.”

    He sometimes fights with other boys on the street. “It’s then me against the other guys.” These quarrels often arise via Snapchat. “You are then thrown into a digital large group and then you are scolded.”

    If he has his knife with him on the street, he feels safe. “In case you run into one of those guys at the supermarket. Or on the street, at parties or at the station.” He has never used the knife. “I’ll show the knife sometime.”

    He’s not the only youngster around with a knife in his pocket. Youth worker Gina from Drechterland often speaks to boys like Sam. “It seems to be normalizing,” she says. “They use it to feel safe, but also to act tough and walk with others.”

    “I’m not going to hand in the knife. I paid for it”

    sam

    She enters into a conversation with them to make them aware of the consequences of using a knife. She thinks it is a good initiative that the municipalities of Stede Broec and Drechterland have a hand-in action for stabbing weapons this week. Young people can hand in knives anonymously and without penalty at four different points in the two municipalities.

    Will Sam do that? “I’m not going to hand in the knife. I paid for it.” However, he does say that he often leaves the gun at home. Because he is secretly aware of the consequences if you use it and he also has a dream for later. “I want to be a pilot or a captain.”

    Deodorant

    Young people don’t just walk around on the street with stabbing weapons. But also, for example, with pepper spray or a can of deodorant. 19-year-old Hannah* from the municipality of Drechterland often has a bus deodorant in her bag.

    “If you get that in your eyes, it’s not so nice,” she says. Hannah regularly travels by train to Hoorn or Amsterdam. She hasn’t used the deodorant yet, but she has had it in her hands. “If I’m almost alone in a train compartment, then sometimes a man will sit right next to me. I don’t like that.” The can of deodorant in her bag gives her the feeling of security.

    “I wanted to move on with my life and finish my school. They didn’t have that need”

    hannah

    When Hannah was younger, she also dated young people who carried stabbing weapons. “I don’t speak to most of them anymore,” she says. “I wanted to move on with my life and finish my school. They didn’t have that need.”

    She thinks the handing in of the stabbing weapons is a good idea, but Hannah thinks that young people will not hand in the knives quickly. “Because they are afraid that there is something behind it. That there are consequences.”

    * To protect privacy, the names of the 14-year-old boy and the 19-year-old have been changed. Their real name is known to NH Nieuws.

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