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Gun crime fall linked to new youth violence strategy

WEAPONS: Forty-two children were killed by guns in the past five years

EFFORTS TO tackle gun crime amongst young people are starting to show positive results, according to new figures.

Home Office statistics released in Parliament show a total of 42 children were killed by guns in the past five years.

There were a total of 12 deaths in both 2006/07 and 2007/08, although this dropped to seven in 2008/09 and three in 2009/10, rising to eight in 2010/11.

Although the figure has risen since 2009/10, criminologist Tim Bateman from the University of Bedfordshire claimed it showed that a more thought out approach to tackling youth violence was working.

Bateman said that although high-profile events such as last summer’s riots led politicians to develop “knee-jerk” policies, the underlying approach to gang-related violence is becoming increasingly sophisticated and could be the reason behind the decline in fatalities over the five-year period.

“There is increasingly a recognition on behalf of most agencies that just cracking down on young people is unlikely to work on its own,” Bateman said.

“Increasingly in some areas there’s recognition that you need to take a slightly longer-term view around thinking how you can dry up the supply of gang members by offering alternative routes.

“At a local level we are seeing more sophisticated and nuanced approaches, and that may be reflected in the slight reduction in the number of people who are victims of gun crime.”

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