Monday, October 24, 2005


Gun crime is spreading rapidly from city to suburb, one of Britain's most senior policemen warned yesterday. Tarique Ghaffur, the assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: "Guns used to be confined to London areas such as Hackney, Lambeth and Brent. Now they are spreading to suburbs such as Wandsworth and Putney." It is a trend seen all over Britain. Nottingham, Manchester and Birmingham are notorious for shootings. Last year there were 59 recorded firearm incidents in Nottingham alone, four of them fatal.

Mr Ghaffur believes there is "an arms race going on", as ethnic groups copy the gun-use of Afro-Caribbean gangs. "Gun crime in Islington [north London] increased by 148 per cent last year," he said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph. "It's up by 50 per cent or more in several other London boroughs. The reality is that the use of guns is ceasing to be an inner-city phenomenon. It's moving into the suburbs and the countryside."

Last week's crime figures showed violent crime rose by six per cent over the year 2004-2005, domestic burglary fell by 11 per cent - and overall, the total amount of crime was down by two per cent. "Murders in London would have been slightly down this year had it not been for the suicide terrorists killing more than 50 people on July 7," said Mr Ghaffur. "But what concerns me is the increasing willingness of criminals to use guns to kill people."

He does not think the trend can be reversed simply by more convictions. "What we're dealing with here is a generation of kids who grow up with a culture of violent crime," he said. "By the time they end up being sent to prison, it is too late." They start shoplifting at the age of 10, graduate to street robbery and drug dealing in their teens, and use guns for extortion and getting rid of rival drug dealers in their early twenties. "By the time these guys are 30 they are either dead, serving a long prison sentence - or are very successful criminals," he added.

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North Carolina: Customer shoots robber : "A customer at a private club shot and killed a man who allegedly was trying to rob club patrons, police said. Brandon Brown, 18, was killed at about 1 a.m. Saturday in a private club at 1505 Holloway St., police said. Brown allegedly was trying to rob about a dozen club patrons when one of them, Michael Henderson, fatally shot him, police said. No charges have been filed in the case, which remains under investigation, police said."

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