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  1. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    07 Aug '12 14:21
    Interesting article in a recent edition of The Economist. Any thoughts about whether or how any of the trends below might have some bearing on countries other than the U.K.?

    Firearms are going out of style
    Jul 28th 2012 | from the print edition


    STOCKWELL, in south London, is famous for two things: Portuguese restaurants and gun crime. Last year, at the Asian-run Stockwell Food and Wine store, a five-year-old girl, Thusa Kamaleswaran, was shot and paralysed in a botched attack by the Brixton-based GAS gang (which stands for Guns and Shanks, or knives) on the Stockwell-based ABM gang (All ‘Bout Money). The shooters were three young men, who arrived on bicycles and fled the same way, leaving security camera images which shocked the nation.

    Mercifully, such tragedies are becoming rarer. The number of firearms offences recorded by police is at its lowest level this millennium. Last year 39 people died from gunshots, down from 96 a decade earlier. This is not just because of better medicine; the number of people entering hospital accident and emergency departments with gunshot wounds has also dropped, from 1,370 in 2003 to 972 last year.


    Violence in general is dropping. But the fall in gun crime is especially steep (see chart). The number of offences involving guns dropped by 16% last year, whereas the number of crimes involving knives (which have only been properly recorded since 2010) fell by just 5%. The biggest improvements have been in places where gun crime once seemed uncontrollable. In both Manchester, once nicknamed “Gunchester,” and Nottingham, gun crime has fallen by almost half since 2006.

    Organised criminals are less likely to use guns. The number of armed robberies has fallen by around 45% since 2001, and bank robberies and post office hold-ups are now almost unheard of. “Serious armed robbery has become a dinosaur crime”, says Roger Matthews, a criminologist at the University of Kent. Modern armed robbers are amateurs, he says, usually badly equipped and often on drugs.

    Guns are in short supply. The National Ballistics Intelligence Service, which tracks guns through bullets and shell casings, reckons that the total number of illegal firearms in the country is no more than 30,000-40,000, and the number in active use is far lower. Data from the Serious Organised Crime Agency suggests that clean guns (which have not been used) are getting more expensive, which probably means they are rarer. Even where guns are available, bullets are scarce, leading criminals to fashion their own from things like blanks and ball bearings.

    Firearms circulate quickly, but that increases the risk of being caught. Detectives are given a profile of where a weapon has previously been used, so criminals and gun-running networks can be pinned down. That, combined with mandatory five-year sentences for gun criminals, has convinced many that the credibility won by a firearm is not worth the risk.

    Dedicated anti-guns programmes have probably helped. In Manchester, the X-Calibre project helped police identify the most important gang leaders and lock them up. In London, Operation Trident, which deals with gang and gun violence, has improved the way the police combat gun crime. Claudia Webbe, its chairwoman, says coppers have learned that London’s gangs are loose and disorganised. Rather than rushing to arrest gang members, the police get close to the girlfriends, parents and siblings of gunmen and press them for information. The result is higher detection and conviction rates, she says.

    Finally, there are more law-abiding people around. Moss Side, once one of Manchester’s most notorious districts for gun crime, has become strikingly more peaceful recently. It also has many more inhabitants, lots of them immigrants. George Kelling, an American criminologist who helped devise the “broken windows” theory, reckons that hollowed-out inner cities are particularly vulnerable to violent criminals, partly because there are few people to push the police to take action. Repopulation has helped cut crime rates in New York, he says. The same may be true of Britain’s mean streets.
  2. 07 Aug '12 18:19
    Originally posted by FMF
    Interesting article in a recent edition of The Economist. Any thoughts about whether or how any of the trends below might have some bearing on countries other than the U.K.?

    [b]Firearms are going out of style
    Jul 28th 2012 | from the print edition


    STOCKWELL, in south London, is famous for two things: Portuguese restaurants and gun crime. Last y ...[text shortened]... ed cut crime rates in New York, he says. The same may be true of Britain’s mean streets.
    [/b]
    30 to 40 thousand in the country? That doesn't even match some of our major cities!
  3. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    07 Aug '12 22:22
    Repopulation of inner cities, with all its benefits, was an intended and successful product of the last Labour government's policies for regenerating the cities. Major restructuring in places like Liverpool, Manchester, Stoke and Birmingham required masssive investment. It was often contentious but huge change was essential and it has not been completed. It was work in progress and would take another twenty years to fulfil its potential.

    With this coalition government trying to regenerate the economy by slashing investment, the construction industry accounts for a massive element in the continuing recession. Until construction revives, the economy is dead.

    Alongside Labour's regeneration of cities was a clamp down on excessive new building in rural and suburban areas. The market pressure was always to build in green areas and the Tories represent a backlash in favour of precisely that kind of market led development. It ruins the countryside, extends suburban development which is soul destroying and bland, and leads more people to live outside of cities. Anyone driving around the countryside will notice inappropriate new developments appearing in weird places, which are not sustainable and require extensive commuting not only to work but for shops and leisure and of course for schools and hospitals.

    As market forces are released from the restrictions of intelligent planning, expect the cities to revert to dismal status and the countryside to get ever more crowded and unpleasant. Of course that's what everyone wants! Nice country houses and Stepford Wives and robot kids that cannot go anywhere without a parental lift. That's why the market is so perverse and requires control.
  4. 07 Aug '12 23:13
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Repopulation of inner cities, with all its benefits, was an intended and successful product of the last Labour government's policies for regenerating the cities. Major restructuring in places like Liverpool, Manchester, Stoke and Birmingham required masssive investment. It was often contentious but huge change was essential and it has not been completed. It ...[text shortened]... nywhere without a parental lift. That's why the market is so perverse and requires control.
    That sounds very much like the regionalism of Obama and his Building One America, his ideas on gun control and people control, basically pulling by force suburbs back into central cities, and piling people up in government housing, replacing the standalone home, and auto.

    London, I'm told has more cameras per capita than any place on planet earth. I'll take getting shot by a robber, to soft tyranny by a government who wants to give me everything, except liberty.
  5. 07 Aug '12 23:46
    Originally posted by normbenign
    That sounds very much like the regionalism of Obama and his Building One America, his ideas on gun control and people control, basically pulling by force suburbs back into central cities, and piling people up in government housing, replacing the standalone home, and auto.

    London, I'm told has more cameras per capita than any place on planet earth. I'l ...[text shortened]... by a robber, to soft tyranny by a government who wants to give me everything, except liberty.
    Unless the government is actually instructing people at gunpoint to move from the suburbs into the city centres, your use of the term "force" is sensationalist.

    London has plenty of CCTV cameras, which worries some people. Personally, I've never quite understood how the mere fact of being watched is an infringement of liberty. No one used to complain about the friendly neighbourhood bobby on the beat, of which CCTV is merely the high-tech equivalent. I mean - you'd rather be shot than be watched? Fortunately for the safety of the average citizen, the majority of voters don't share this eccentric preference!
  6. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    08 Aug '12 00:07 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by normbenign
    That sounds very much like the regionalism of Obama and his Building One America, his ideas on gun control and people control, basically pulling by force suburbs back into central cities, and piling people up in government housing, replacing the standalone home, and auto.

    London, I'm told has more cameras per capita than any place on planet earth. I'l ...[text shortened]... by a robber, to soft tyranny by a government who wants to give me everything, except liberty.
    I have no disagreement with you about civil liberties being important.

    Clearly nobody can be forced to live in cities or suburbs. Maybe you like the sprawling suburbs that are a feature of US development but they are not much liked in the UK. The corollory of abandoned cities is excessive new development sprawling out into former countryside. That type of development lacks soul, lacks the amenities that make neighbourhoods and communities. They enforce lifestlyes that require cars and private transport which is environmentally disastrous and socially divisive. It is socially divisive because they meet the needs of the middle class and make inadequate if any provision for ordinary working people who cannot affrord cars and who prefer anyway to live in connection with their families and associates, especially in our new MacDonaldized economy where wages are low and young people are excluded from work.

    People abandoned cities because of a lack of investment and a cycle of deprivation. Leaving that to take place indefinitely is not responsible government; even if is seen as market forces in operation, the market is shaped by many factors that can be influenced in benevolent ways and the fact is that in many cities the MARKET HAS FAILED. Market forces are incapable of redesigning city areas that have become unattractive for private investment. For example, in Liverpool and Stoke, not thousands but tens of thousands of properties in poor condition, with terible street layouts, incapable of being brought to a decent standard, have been cleared away compulsorily and people rehoused in diverse ways, with fair, market price compensation assessed by independent valuers and open to appeal by fair procedures. New road layouts and new neighbourhoods have been overlaid, with green spaces and appropriate facilities in new locations.

    Without laying on too much detail, people are attracted to live and invest in the restructured city centres. Such imaginative, indeed visionary transformations are something that only government is capable of doing. City centres especially have been transformed in Britain and they are a success which people welcome.

    The right of the middle class individual to build homes wherever they like is only exercised at the expense of everyone else, whose amenities are destroyed by uncontrolled development. If you would like the perfect model of speculative building gone crazy, look at the empty houses in stupid locations that have been debated on this forum quite recently. While often helped by public subsidy in countries like the Celtic Tiger itself, they are the product of a failure of government to regulate the market responsibly.

    Get used to it. This is one of many examples of MARKET FAILURE and your appeal to liberty is fatuous in this context. It is not about forcing people - it is about regulating a market for the collective good and it is about investment in the kind of society and environment we actually prefer to live in. But hey - it's still great to watch the American cop shows and see how you guys like to live.
  7. 08 Aug '12 07:21
    Originally posted by normbenign
    That sounds very much like the regionalism of Obama and his Building One America, his ideas on gun control and people control, basically pulling by force suburbs back into central cities, and piling people up in government housing, replacing the standalone home, and auto.

    London, I'm told has more cameras per capita than any place on planet earth. I'l ...[text shortened]... by a robber, to soft tyranny by a government who wants to give me everything, except liberty.
    Norm you would not know Liberty if it jumped out of a bush and bit your ass.

    You are a chattel of corporate America, a rich mans bitch, fair enough, your happy that way, but here in the UK we still have a dream about democratic mechanisms giving us the kind of civilised society that you and the NRA can only have nightmares about.
  8. 09 Aug '12 03:44
    I'd rather go out because of a mass shooting than my family being taken out along with millions of others by a rogue government. There is no perfect solution to gun violence. I believe government has killed far more people than any gang ever will. Lets keep the guns!
  9. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    09 Aug '12 05:42
    Originally posted by joe beyser
    I'd rather go out because of a mass shooting than my family being taken out along with millions of others by a rogue government. There is no perfect solution to gun violence. I believe government has killed far more people than any gang ever will. Lets keep the guns!
    Do you welcome the falling gun crime trend that has been seen in the U.K.?
  10. 09 Aug '12 09:44
    Originally posted by FMF
    Do you welcome the falling gun crime trend that has been seen in the U.K.?
    Of course I do. It looks like there are several variables at play here and gun control may not be the significant factor. I don't see guns being the root cause of the crime there or anywhere else. If someone uses a gun in a crime there should be extreme punishment so that it will be a deterrent to those getting involved with such activity. Making the population get a Firearm Certificate for a pellet rifle will do nothing but burden law abiding citizens.
  11. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    09 Aug '12 14:07
    Originally posted by joe beyser
    Of course I do. It looks like there are several variables at play here and gun control may not be the significant factor. I don't see guns being the root cause of the crime there or anywhere else. If someone uses a gun in a crime there should be extreme punishment so that it will be a deterrent to those getting involved with such activity. Making the popu ...[text shortened]... n get a Firearm Certificate for a pellet rifle will do nothing but burden law abiding citizens.
    Absolutely. In the Eighteenth Century a seven year old girl in Norwich was hanged for stealing a petticoat and you know what, she never did that again. Extreme punishment is clearly the way forward.
  12. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    10 Aug '12 01:27 / 3 edits
    Sounds like an opportunity for some criminals to move in and take over!

    Looks like the Jamaicans are on the job. How did this yardie get an automatic? Even our gun slaughters don't tend to involve automatic weapons.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/859574.stm

    Here's something more recent, and more professionally done:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-19003129
  13. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    10 Aug '12 01:55
    Eviction leads to shooting in Germany last month

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/gunman-takes-several-hostages-germany-084150912.html
  14. 10 Aug '12 02:38
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Absolutely. In the Eighteenth Century a seven year old girl in Norwich was hanged for stealing a petticoat and you know what, she never did that again. Extreme punishment is clearly the way forward.
    I got a chuckle out of your reply. Did the girl use deadly force with a gun to steal the petticoat?
  15. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    10 Aug '12 16:12
    Originally posted by joe beyser
    I got a chuckle out of your reply. Did the girl use deadly force with a gun to steal the petticoat?
    I wasn't looking for a chuckle. It is a shoocking thing to report and I came across it yesterday reading a history "The Invention of Childhood" by Hugh Cunningham. However it was intended to convey my extreme disagreement with your extreme thinking.

    The level of punishment for gun crime in Britain, however severe, falls way short of extreme. Clearly extremes are not required. Effective, targetted policing, supported by appropriate laws, is.

    Since it is illegal to hold a gun without a licence, then of course criminals can still have guns, but the point is that their possession is in itself a crime. Far from being a mere inconvenience, the law gives the Police power to search for weapons and prosecute anyone found in possession. There is no requirement to show intent to use the weapon for any purpose let alone for crime. That would of course aggravate the crime if proven. Some very nice people get prosecuted under these laws and get very hot under the collar about it but that is a law this country wants and supports.