In Focus Armed Violence Monitor on Weapon Seizures in South East Europe in 2020 – Just Published

SEESAC’s latest issue of the In Focus Armed Violence Monitor highlights weapon seizures in South East Europe (SEE) from 1 January to 31 December 2021. The issue includes a comparative overview to 2020 in order to identify trends and challenges associated with this powerful law enforcement response to combat the use, proliferation and trafficking of firearms, ammunition and explosives.

Some of the key findings from this issue are:

  • Following the trend from 2020, weapon seizures continue to be the most reported type of incident in the reporting period.  With 1,536 cases, weapon seizures account for nearly half of all recorded firearm incidents in the region, showing a 24% increase from 2020.
  • Handguns, which remained the most seized weapon, were reported in 633 cases, followed by explosives (333 cases), rifles/shotguns (300 cases) and automatic/military-grade weapons (190 cases). The same trend was seen in 2020.
  • The number of reported seizures of gas pistols (84 cases) and air guns (50 cases) rose in 2021.
  • There were 68 cases involving large seizures (five or more weapons) reported across the region.
  • Magazines were the most seized weapon component, being reported in 325 cases.
  • A total of 1,595 perpetrators were reported. When the perpetrators’ sex was known, 1,350 were men, and 29 were women.
  • As in 2020, the number of weapons seizures in urban areas (1,041 cases) was significantly higher than in rural areas (495 cases). The majority of weapon seizures took place at homes/yards (643 cases) and in the street (294 cases).

More information on weapon seizures in the SEE in 2020 is available 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 to 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).