Crime in England

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42 Deaths As Use Of Handguns Hits Seven-year High

Use of handguns in crime in England and Wales reached its highest level for seven years in 1999-2000. This is in spite of the ban on private ownership of the weapons introduced in the wake of the Dunblane massacre. There were 42 people killed with handguns during the period - more than in any other year in the 1990s. Some 3,685 crimes involving handguns were recorded in 1999-2000, including 42 homicides, 310 cases of attempted murder, 2,561 robberies and 204 burglaries, the Home Office revealed. The total was more than one-third (37%) up on the previous year, and the highest level since the Dunblane tragedy in March 1996, when 16 children and a teacher died. The details were released in a parliamentary written answer by Home Office Minister Lord Bassam of Brighton. A ban on all private ownership of handguns became law in November 1997, but handgun offences have risen each year since then. Levels of handgun offences were higher in 1992 and 1993, at 3,997 and 4,202 respectively, but in each year there were fewer homicides than in 1999-2000. The higher figures then were down to a far greater incidence of robberies using handguns, which reached a peak of 3,605 in 1993 before falling every year until 1999-2000, when they jumped from 1,814 to 2,561.

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One in three young criminals is armed

Government research shows use of guns is on the rise and gangster films are blamed for making it seem 'cool'

Special report: gun violence in Britain


Tony Thompson
Sunday September 3, 2000

One in three criminals under the age of 25 owns or has access to a firearm, the Government's researchers have discovered.

A continuing parliamentary inquiry into the growing number of black market weapons has concluded that there are more than three million illegally held firearms in circulation - double the number believed to have been held 10 years ago - and that criminals are more willing than ever to use them.

The events of the past week have provided sobering evidence of how deeply ingrained Britain's new gun culture has become.

Officers patrolling the Notting Hill carnival last month said they had been prevented from searching a suspect, later found to be carrying a loaded 9mm pistol, for fear of inciting violence. Last Monday, doormen trying to break up a fight at the Epping Forest Country Club in Essex watched in horror as several revellers produced guns and began shooting at them. Two doormen were hit and seriously injured. A few hours later, a man was shot in the head during a 'road rage' row in south London.

Last Tuesday, three people were left fighting for their lives after a group of young Rolex robbers ambushed them in the driveway of their luxury home in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. Millionaire Joe Martorana had just stepped out of his BMW when two men snatched the Rolex from his wrist.

When his wife, Josephine, tried to raise the alarm, she was shot once in the back by a handgun. As she lay bleeding, the gunmen snatched her Rolex. The couple's son, 18-year-old Steven, and his girlfriend, Isabella, had heard the shot from inside the house. They rushed through the front door to confront the robbers who gunned them down. Steven was hit by a bullet in his chest, and Isabella was shot in the stomach. A few hours later, a 28-year-old man was seriously injured after being shot at a London nightclub.

Last Wednesday, Essex builder Ronald Fuller was shot dead by a moped-riding gunman who waited near his home. Fuller, who has a child, was shot twice in the head and twice in the body at point-blank range. Fuller had been acquitted of stabbing a man to death at the Epping Forest Country Club. Police have not ruled out a link between his murder and the violence at the club.

Between 1997 and 1999 there were 429 murders in the capital, the highest two-year figure for more than 10 years. At least 100 of them were drug-related; nearly two-thirds of those involved firearms. Dozens of other firearms incidents resulted in people being seriously injured. Last month eight people were wounded when a gunman began shooting indiscriminately outside Chicago's nightclub in Peckham High Street.

The picture is the same across the country. Last month a small-time cannabis dealer, Paul Rogers, was shot dead in front of his young son after two gunmen burst into his Liverpool home. In Birmingham and Manchester, police attend more than 100 firearms incidents every month. In Wales, armed police have been called into action every day this year.

Detectives say modern weapons are increasingly being held by young drug dealers protecting themselves and their territory. They fear many youngsters are being strongly influenced by the rash of British crime movies such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and its newly released follow-up, Snatch, which have made gangsters chic.

Small shopkeepers, who in the past have found themselves threatened with iron bars, baseball bats or knives, are increasingly finding themselves facing handguns or even automatic weapons. A study by Independent Retail News shows that a third of all attacks now involve firearms.

Lee Jasper, who advises the London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, on matters of race and policing, believes that, whereas guns were once reserved for the criminal élite, they are increasingly falling into the hands of younger, less experienced criminals.

'We have a culture developed where people think it is very cool to carry a gun, and are prepared to use it at the drop of a hat. The crime has moved on from just protecting your market and your market share to doling out punishment and intimidation. And the gun is the first resort - the weapon of choice - for settling arguments.'

Government researchers are hoping to track the source of black market weapons to devise more effective ways of combating the trade.

Controls such as the banning of handguns after the Dunblane tragedy have had no effect on the number of illegally held guns that are smuggled into the country, supplied by corrupt dealers or reactivated from supposedly decommissioned stock.

Meanwhile, makers of bullet-proof vests are reporting record profits. Vest sales have quadrupled, with 60,000 snapped up in the past two years at about £400 a time.

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Great Britain and Gun Control: With Neither Liberty nor Safety

        Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D.
        Tuesday July 11, 2000

NEWSMAX.COM-Great Britain, which gave birth to the great political philosophy of classic liberalism and to America, the flowering of Western civilization, is in moral decline.

Not content with holding Gen. Augusto Pinochet hostage, Britain now holds its own citizens hostage like an authoritarian nation that distrusts its own citizens with firearms.(1)

Since 1996, when a madman went on a rampage killing 16 children and their teacher in Dunblane, Scotland, Great Britain has tightened to strangulation its already draconian gun control laws so that only certified members of approved target-shooting clubs are allowed to own guns. These must be .22 caliber or smaller and must be kept locked up at the club at all times.

Guns have been virtually banned, and the God-given right to self-defense has been virtually abrogated in England.

Dramatic Increase in Robberies and Other Crime

And yet, crime has steadily risen in Britain in the last several years. The U.S. Department of Justice says a person is nearly twice as likely to be robbed, assaulted or have a vehicle stolen in Britain as in the United States. Although the U.S. remains ahead of Britain in rates of murder and rape, the gap is rapidly narrowing.

And while robberies rose 81 percent in England and Wales, they fell 28 percent in the United States. Likewise, assaults increased 53 percent in England and Wales but declined 27 percent in the United States. Burglaries doubled in England but fell by half in the United States. And while motor vehicle theft rose 51 percent in England, it remained the same in America.

To make matters worse for England – and this is also true for Canada – in those countries where citizens are disarmed in their own homes, day burglary is commonplace and dangerous because criminals know they will not be shot at if caught flagrante delicto. Not so in the U.S., where burglars not only prefer night burglaries but try to make sure homeowners are not in to avoid being shot at by the intended victim.

The rising tide of thievery and burglaries in England has dubbed Britain "a nation of thieves," wrote the London Sunday Times, which noted: "More than one in three British men has a criminal record by the age of 40. While America has cut its crime rate dramatically Britain remains the crime capital of the West. Where have we gone wrong?"(2) Perhaps England should look introspectively.

The most drastic ascendancy of crimes in Britain was found in those types of felonies where recent studies in the U.S. have shown that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens not only save lives but also protect private property, reduce injuries to good people, and crime is generally deterred.(3)

Writing in the May/June 2000 issue of the Medical Sentinel of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), Dr. Michael S. Brown writes that while the British laws have disarmed law-abiding citizens, "a black market has flourished, as usual with prohibitions, to supply criminal elements. Up to 3 million illegal guns are in circulation in Britain, leading to a rise in drive-by shootings and gangland-style executions."

Dr. Brown continues, "Young criminals (ages 15 to 25 with prior convictions), according to the Sunday Times, 'own or have access to guns ranging from Beretta submachine guns to Luger pistols, which can be bought from underworld dealers for as little as £200 ($320 U.S.).'"(4) In the U.S., ordinary citizens shoot three times as many criminals in self-defense as do the police.

Recent work by professor John R. Lott Jr. at the University of Chicago has shown that allowing people to carry concealed weapons deters violent crime - without any apparent increase in accidental death or suicide. While neither state waiting periods nor the federal Brady Law is associated with a reduction in crime rates, adopting concealed-carry gun laws cuts death rates from public, multiple shootings like those in Littleton, Colo., this year or Dunblane, Scotland in 1996.

Professor Lott found that when concealed-carry laws went into effect in a given county, murders fell by 8 percent, rapes by 5 percent and aggravated assaults by 7 percent. For each additional year concealed-carry gun laws have been in effect, the murder rate declines by 3 percent, robberies by more than 2 percent and rape by 1 percent.(5)

Women Using Guns for Self-Defense

Moreover, studies in the U.S. have shown that guns are the great equalizer for females when accosted in the streets or assaulted in their homes.

When a woman is armed with a gun, up to 83 percent of the time she will be successful at preventing rape, and only half as likely of being injured in the process.(3) These figures should be good news in the U.S. for the 17 million American women estimated to carry guns, but not for those in Great Britain who have been proscribed from keeping guns for self-protection.

While the number of rapes in the U.S. is still higher than in Great Britain, it is falling, whereas the rate of sex crimes and violent assaults in England and Wales is increasing rapidly because of their permissive criminal justice system and even greater tendency than the U.S. to rehabilitate rather than punish criminals - and, of course, the stringent policy of citizen disarmament.

This pusillanimous policy advertises to sex criminals that they have nothing to fear not only from their criminal justice system but also from their intended victims.

Will the British require another American Revolution to come to their moral senses? Or, instead, will we Americans reject our Second Amendment, the palladium of our liberties and our legacy of freedom?

References

1. Faria, M.A. Jr. "England and Gun Control: Moral Decline of an Empire." Medical Sentinel 1999; 4(2); 52-55.

2. Ungoed-Thomas J. A nation of thieves. London Sunday Times, Jan. 11, 1998.

3. Faria, M.A. Jr. "Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine." Macon, Ga., Hacienda Publishing Inc., 1997, pp. 107-120.

4. Brown, M.S. "Results are in for Britain: 'Less guns,' more crime. Medical Sentinel 2000; 5(3):106, http://www.haciendapub.com 

5. Lott, J.R. "More Guns Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws." Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Dr. Miguel A. Faria Jr. is the editor-in-chief of the Medical Sentinel, the official journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) and author of "Vandals at the Gates of Medicine: Historic Perspectives on the Battle Over Health Care Reform" (1995) and "Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine" (Macon, Ga., Hacienda Publishing Inc., 1997), http://www.haciendapub.com 

Reproduced with the permission of NewsMax.com All rights reserved

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US newsman says Britain is riddled with crime

A RISING tide of crime in Britain has made it a more dangerous country than America, the US television presenter Dan Rather has told viewers.

According to the CBS Evening News program, every measure of violent crime except murder is higher in Britain. Striking a somber note laced with just a hint of smugness, Rather warned American tourists of the potential dangers.

He said: "This summer, thousands of Americans will travel to Britain expecting a civilized island free from crime and ugliness. And in many ways it is that. But now, like the US, the UK has a crime problem. And believe it or not, except for murder, theirs is worse than ours."

The Home Office criticized the CBS report as "simplistic", pointing out that the average American is seven times more likely than his British counterpart to be murdered and 60 times more likely to be shot dead. A spokesman also warned against comparing statistics that were collected and collated in different ways. "For example, the US figures for violent crime only include aggravated assault and not common assault," he said.

The British Tourist Authority said it was concerned that Americans would be put off from visiting what remained "a civilized society with relatively low levels of crime".

Tom Fenton, a CBS correspondent in London, gave a report interspersed with the sound of a wailing ambulance siren and clips of battling football hooligans and drunken mobs. He said: "You are more likely to be burglarized here, almost twice as likely to be robbed and two and a half times more likely to be assaulted."

England was at first sight "a green and pleasant land". However, the nation was described as "one of the most violent urban societies in the Western world" with the activities of "soccer fans" representing "only the tip of the iceberg". According to CBS, crime statistics in Britain are a "sham", with only one in four assaults being recorded.

Irene Coles, 86, mugged on her doorstep, was interviewed as a "typical victim". Asked about her attacker, she said: "The police told me he did it six times. Just got out of jail and he did the same thing." Fenton said: "A serial mugger, jailed many times, but never for long. Experts say that is why crime is getting worse here." A rise in shootings in cities was also highlighted, with Fenton adding: "The streets and shopping malls of Britain are a battleground."

Some National Rifle Association members have also claimed that violent crime has risen in Britain as a result of the gun restrictions introduced after the Dunblane massacre in 1996 .

Figures released by the FBI last month appeared to show that serious crime in America fell by seven per cent last year , extending a decline that began eight years ago. Among the factors cited were stiffer gun control laws, a crackdown on drug dealing, and tougher sentencing. Rape figures, not mentioned by CBS, are still three times higher in the US than in England and Wales.

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Crime figures show violence soaring

THE Government faces a major embarrassment over rises in violent crime in England and Wales.

Official statistics, to be released next month, are expected to show a continuing rise, despite Labour's pledge to be tough on crime. Although Labour claimed to have launched an anti-crime crusade, the Home Office crime figures for the 12 months to the end of March are expected to show an average 19 per cent increase in violence, including assaults and robberies.

It will be the second time in six months that the crime figures have increased, following no rise for six years . With William Hague, the Tory leader, seen to be making political headway with his strident approach to law and order, Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, again attempted to blame the courts for their "unduly lenient" sentences given to robbers.

Rising crime is now firmly entrenched as an important battleground ahead of the general election expected next year. Ann Widdecombe, the shadow home secretary, accused Mr. Straw of a "pathetic" performance in tackling crime.

Responding to the expected figures, she said: "I think there are very obvious causes, first of all the huge drop in police . Policemen and particularly constables have dropped by about 2,600 since this Government came to power. Secondly, a very soft message has gone out. What is not generally appreciated is that about 18,000 prisoners have been released before the earliest point of their sentence, when they would normally have been released, as an executive decision, because that is Jack Straw's way of coping with a rising prison population."

In London, robberies, including muggings, are said to have shot up by 38 per cent. The overall increase in recorded offences of all types will be about 3.8 per cent, according to the Sunday Times, which collated statistics from 21 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales. There was also a sharp increase in violent crime in rural areas. In Suffolk, it rose by 36 per cent and in Dorset by 24 per cent.

The Home Office said it could not comment on the figures until they were published officially. But, appearing on the BBC's Breakfast with Frost program yesterday, Mr. Straw acknowledged the trend on violent crime was upwards.

Mr. Straw accepted that drink-related violence was one of the reasons for the increase in violent crime. "We have a general problem of drink-related violence in our society, particularly amongst younger men, which we have got to deal with," he said. "It's one of the reasons why the violent crime figures are going up."

Mr. Straw said he wanted to see tougher sentences for those convicted of robbery and urged police forces and local authorities to make greater use of anti-social behavior orders, designed to keep unruly people off the streets. According to Home Office statistics, the average sentence for robbery between 1992 and last year has fallen by nearly nine per cent, from 39.2 months to 35.7 months.

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