Figures suggest that 30 percent of murders in Britain are committed with knives or other sharp instruments. Solution? Confiscating knives isn’t particularly reasonable, but the Economist’s website reports that a modification of knife tips might greatly reduce fatal injuries without particularly affecting the performance of most blades.

“The team looked at four of a knife’s properties—the radius of the tip, the shape of the tip, the thickness of the blade, and the sharpness of the edge—in order to determine what was doing the most damage. The answer turned out to be the radius of the tip. The reason is that skin is elastic and will at first stretch and deflect a knife.”

Oh, and also:

“The force needed to go deeper is much less than that required for the entry. In fact, some convicted killers have commented on how their knife seemed to ‘fall into’ the body of their victim after breaching his skin.”

Hey, now that’s a vivid image.

As the Economist reports (and every cook knows), one typically uses the blade of the knife rather than the tip when cutting. So short of a gun-style safety catch, “sheep’s foot” shaped knives (where the back of the blade curves down to meet the cutting edge, creating a relatively blunt tip) may be the best bet for a crime-averse society hoping to cut down on knife fatalities.

By the way, if you do decide to keep your knives sharp, here’s how to do that.

Image source: Flickr member mnsc under Creative Commons

See more articles