Levels Of Gun Crime In Modern Britain
In 2007 there was a myriad of high profile cases in which young people lost their lives as a result of gun crime. The most infamous of these incidents was the shooting of Rhys Jones aged eleven. In the UK gun crime is increasingly becoming a problem and the media are keen to give maximum exposure to firearm incidents.
During 2007 the Home Office have reported fifty nine gun related homicides, ten more than the previous year. The figures also record over five hundred serious incidents over the last twelve months, shockingly; this is now over one a day. Despite these somewhat frightening statistics the overall trend in gun crime is believed to be falling.
For all firearm offences, including those involving air guns there was a fall of fourteen percent from approximately 21,500 to 18,500. This is a positive although seemingly the types of gun crime occurring are more violent. Of these offences the majority occurred unsurprisingly around the major cities in the UK.
Greater Manchester, West Midlands and Metropolitan police forces were kept the busiest dealing with gun crime. These forces police Manchester, Birmingham and London respectively and are trying to tackle the problem effectively. Nottingham has long been labelled the gun crime capital of Britain but this is a misnomer, since a spate of shootings in 2004 Nottingham only saw one shooting in 2006.
It has been revealed that levels of gun crime in Nottingham may well be above the national average but in comparison to the cities of London and Manchester the problem is not as large. It is believed that Nottingham currently has half the rate of gun crimes than these two major cities.
Seemingly Manchester has take the mantle once held by Nottingham with locals now referring to the city as ‘Gunchester’; hopefully, as with Nottingham this rather unappealing name will be forgotten in time.
The great worry of politicians has been the converting of replica guns by gangs to use for criminal activities. The latest figures show that there has been a reduction in this practice. Optimistic estimates put the use of replicas in gun crime as down a quarter on the previous year.
Police chiefs are contemplating ways to ease the problem; in Liverpool it has been argued that procedures for worried citizens to report gun ownership and carrying should be made easier and without fear of reprisal. This is an essential component of tackling gun crime as often witnesses are too frightened to give evidence about shooters.
This ‘wall of silence’ must be broken in order for youngsters to stop being drawn into gang culture. Reporting gun crime should be a duty at all levels, whether it is a glimpse of a firearm or a full on shooting. By giving the police more complete information, they should be better equipped to deal with this cancer on our society.
The issue of gun crime is multifaceted; it is ingrained into social issues and cultural phenomena. There is little doubt that gangs and gang culture are involved and these must be tackled before any progress is made. An increased police presence in deprived areas and more advanced CCTV technology may also help in reducing shootings.
Despite the wide ranging results of the Home Office report there are few generalisations that can be made about gun crime nationwide. What can be seen is that the issue is predominantly centred in cities and urban areas; this is due to the majority of gangs operating in these areas. Overall gun incidents are not widespread throughout the country and as long as they stay in these limited locales the problem should be a little easier to tackle.