Weapon Seizures Trends Remain Steady Across South East Europe in 2022

SEESAC's new In Focus Armed Violence Monitor reports on weapon seizures in South East Europe in 2022 with a comparative analysis to 2021. As has been observed in the past, weapon seizures remain crucial for law enforcement agencies to tackle the illegal possession, proliferation, and trafficking of firearms, ammunition, and explosives (FAE).

The Monitor reveals some notable findings:

  • Weapon seizures continued to be the most reported type of incident in 2022, following the trend from 2021. The AVMP recorded 1,542 cases, representing 47% of all firearm incidents, almost matching the number of seizures in 2021 (1,543).
  • Handguns remained the most seized weapon, were reported in 641 cases, followed by explosives (287 cases), rifles/shotguns (313 cases), and automatic/military-grade weapons (185 cases). This trend was also observed in 2021.
  • The number of reported seizures of gas pistols (103 cases) and air guns (72 cases) continued to rise in 2022.
  • A total of 69 cases involved large seizures where five or more weapons were seized across the region.
  • A total of 1,698 perpetrators were reported, with 1,451 men and 24 women when the sex of the perpetrators was known.
  • Similarly to 2021, urban areas had significantly higher rates of weapon seizures (1,004 cases) compared to rural areas (538 cases). Most weapon seizures occurred at homes/yards (600 cases) and in the street (345 cases).

More information on weapon seizures in the SEE in 2022 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 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.