In Focus Armed Violence Monitor – Perpetrators of Firearm Incidents in South East Europe in 2020 is Now Available

In its latest issue of the In Focus - Armed Violence Monitor, SEESAC provides a significant contribution towards a more comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of perpetrators of firearm incidents in South East Europe (SEE) in 2020.

By shedding light on the perpetrators' sex and age, the context of the incident, the type of weapon used, and other factors, this Monitor presents the data on individuals who committed firearm incidents as perpetrators, co-perpetrators, instigators, or accomplices.

Considering that the misuse of firearms is strongly gendered, with men being the majority of perpetrators, the Monitor focuses on men perpetrators in particular, with an emphasis on specific age groups at risk of firearm misuse.

Key highlights from this issue include:

  • In 2020, the AVMP captured 3,566 perpetrators who committed 2,469 (85.5%) firearm incidents in South East Europe.
  • The sex was specified for 2,700 (75.7%) perpetrators, with 2,646 men (98%) compared to only 54 women (2%), indicating a highly gendered nature of firearm misuse. 
  • The highest number of perpetrators (1,316 or 36.9%) was recorded in weapon seizures. Incidents in criminal context follow  with 1,008 (28.2%) perpetrators.
  • Perpetrators were mostly men aged 19-35, closely followed by men in the 36-60 age group.
  • Men make up 99% of perpetrators of domestic violence incidents while all cases of intimate partner violence were committed by men (39). Ten men and one woman committed suicide with a firearm after perpetrating domestic violence.
  • Men aged 36-60 comprised more than half of all men perpetrators of domestic violence (45).
  • In 2020, perpetrators were associated with weapons in illegal possession almost ten times more frequently than legally held weapons.
  • Men aged 61 and older show a strong propensity for suicides, with 23 men who committed suicides.
  • Men perpetrators under 19 years of age were mainly reported in connection to weapon seizures (15), robberies (9) and accidental shootings (8).
  • More than half of women perpetrators (28) were reported in connection to weapon seizures, followed by criminal context incidents (14).
  • A total of 13 law enforcement officers caused accidental shooting incidents due to improper handling of their service weapons, while seven law enforcement officers committed suicides with firearms. Five weapons used were in legal possession.
  • Perpetrators were caught in 1,887 out of 2887 firearm incidents recorded in 2020.

To read the whole report, please click here.


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 Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, Kosovo* 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 on arms control and the reduction of their negative impact on civilians.

*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).