How many incidents with firearms were committed in South East Europe while we were writing this?

SEESAC (South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons) launches the Armed Violence Monitoring Platform (AVMP) - South East Europe’s first digital platform fact-checking daily firearms incidents across the region.

The uncontrolled spread and misuse of firearms have a wide range of humanitarian and socio-economic consequences, posing a serious threat to citizens’ security and directly affecting the lives of men, women, youth and children. Despite this trend, quality and systematic data on the impact of firearms on society remains scarce in South East Europe. To cover this gap, SEESAC launches the Armed Violence Monitoring Platform (AVMP) - South East Europe’s first digital platform fact-checking daily firearms incidents across the region.

The AVMP monitors firearms-related incidents happening in South East Europe. It gathers detailed data since 2014 from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The data collected is mainly based on media reports and varies from type of incident, firearms used, the gender of the victim and perpetrator to geographic references of the incident. Basic data analysis is also provided for various data sets aiming to discover trends related to the incidents. 

Bojana Balon, SEESAC Coordinator:

"At SEESAC, we thrive on data. How many weapons were seized in the last year in Bosnia and Herzegovina, how many women were murdered with firearms in Serbia – the ability to answer these questions based on facts is what makes the difference in our work. Usually, we work with governments to collect and analyze this data in order to improve their policies. Now, the AVMP compliments data from public institutions with media reports in an interactive, digitalized way. This allows citizens to see how many firearms incidents are committed throughout the region, where and by whom and it allows experts a better understanding of the nature, size and impact of the challenge that misuse and illicit possession of firearms pose to the region."

Maria-Claudia Liller, AVMP quality assurance:

"Generally, the AVMP reinforces regional trends we already know. The question is what do we know and we did not know before the AVMP? For example, we know that domestic violence is a pressing issue in South East Europe, but the AVMP reveals that many of these incidents in Albania are committed with automatic weapons. Or the media in Serbia classifies domestic violence as such compared to rest of the region where it would mostly be reported as a public dispute. This type of data sheds light on new actors that can be involved in the fight against gun crime. Like journalists, for example, who can contribute to evidence-based policy by promoting the use of data-driven journalism when reporting armed violence incidents."

More information about how the AVMP works and what data it can provide is available here. AVMP is a SEESAC product funded by the European Union within the framework of the EU Council Decision 2016/2356.

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