SEESAC's In Focus Armed Violence Monitor Reveals - Decline in Firearm Incidents in Criminal Context Seen in 2022

Incidents related to organized crime, armed robberies, firearm thefts, as well as other incidents with a criminal background, continue to have an adverse impact on citizens across South East Europe. To shed light on the linkage between firearms and criminal activities, SEESAC publishes its In Focus Armed Violence Monitor,  addressing firearm incidents in the criminal context. According to the latest report, the year 2022 witnessed a 17% decline in the number of these incidents compared to the previous year, with a total of 492 recorded incidents.

Among the recorded incidents in 2022, the Armed Violence Monitoring Platform reported 189 armed robberies, 146 incidents related to organized crime, 65 firearm thefts, and 92 other incidents in the criminal setting.

Handguns remained the most commonly used type of weapon, accounting for 43% of the incidents. Out of the total cases, 225 involved weapons in illegal possession, while 33 cases involved legally owned weapons. These findings underscore the urgent need for continuous efforts to combat firearms trafficking, misuse, and illicit possession throughout the region.

Out of 1,055 perpetrators, sex was reported for 719 (68%) perpetrators, of whom 707 (98%) were men, and 13 (2%) were women.

In comparison to the previous year, the number of victims affected by incidents within a criminal context decreased in 2022. A total of 332 victims were recorded, indicating a 29% decline from 2021. Among the victims whose sex was reported, 25% were women, while 75% were men. The incidents resulted in 33 fatalities, 33 injuries, 217 instances of individuals being threatened with firearms, and 32 reported firearm thefts.

In 2022, the prevalence of firearm incidents in the criminal context was higher in urban areas, accounting for 73% of all incidents, while rural areas comprised 27%. Most of the incidents in the criminal context took place in public buildings, most often in shops, gas stations, etc., mainly due to armed robberies.

To learn more about the reported incidents, download the report here.

More data on firearms incidents in South East Europe is available on the Armed Violence Monitoring Platform.


About the Armed Violence Monitoring Platform (AVMP)

The Armed Violence Monitoring Platform (AVMP) has been established by SEESAC with EU funding within the framework of EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2356 and is currently supported through EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/2111, in support of SEESAC disarmament and arms control activities in South-East Europe.

The AVMP captures data on firearm-related incidents happening in the Western Balkans and the Republic of Moldova. 

The data is gathered daily from the relevant authorities' official websites, as well as print and online media.  The collected data range from the type of incident, firearms used, age and gender of the victim and the perpetrator, outcome of the incident, etc. Basic data analysis is also provided for various data sets aiming to discover trends related to the incidents. Quality assurance is conducted rigorously by SEESAC. The platform has seen significant improvements in recent years in terms of data collection and categorization. 

The purpose of the AVMP is to make essential data available to all interested parties working on small arms and light weapons control. The AVMP can serve as an informative tool for interventions with the overarching goal of a more effective response to arms control and the reduction of their negative impact on civilians.