Rise in crime triggers agency search

A 100% rise in gun crime in London’s City of Westminster has added to pressure on Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to step up the fight against gang violence and firearms offences.

Smith launched a national drive against gang violence in September and is considering whether to hire an ad agency as part of the battle. She is studying evidence from Operation Trident, which targets gun crime in London’s black community, showing that media communications can play an important role in the fight (MW last week).

This year’s massive escalation in gun crime across London highlights the need for a fresh onslaught to tackle firearms offences.

Gun-enabled crime in Westminster – the location of the UK’s seat of Government – has doubled this year to 122 offences, while in the London Borough of Merton it has jumped 42.9%. In Camden, gun crime is up 33% and in Croydon, it has risen 26% to 177 offences. Gun crime has increased by about 20% in six London boroughs.

The Metropolitan Police figures cover the 12 month period to October 2007 compared with the same period the previous year. Across London, gun-enabled offences have risen 4.6% over the period to 3,515, as steep rises in some areas were offset by declines in a number of boroughs targeted by Operation Trident. However, the London-wide figure for gun crime is one of the lowest of the past five years. Gun offences hit a high of 3,966 in 2004.

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