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Crime analytics – a game-changer for trafficking of illegal firearms

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California recently passed a new law that permits private persons to file a civil action against anybody who manufactures, distributes, transports or imports assault weapons or ghost guns, to reduce gun violence in the aftermath of recent mass shootings throughout the country. Despite several such laws being passed worldwide, the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) continues to be a modest-in-size market. According to the UN, the illegal firearms trade generates between 125 million EUR to 236 million EUR per year globally. 

Apart from commercials, the illicit firearms industry also serves as a contemporary global human rights issue, posing a threat to our most fundamental human right, the right to life. The Global Violent Deaths update stated that 531,000 people lost their lives violently in 2020. The number of gun deaths in 2021, excluding suicides, is the highest recorded by the Gun Violence Archive since 2014.

What substantiates the high number of killings is an estimated 18.8 million guns sold in 2021. The number includes 11.3 million handguns and 7.5 million long guns.

As can be seen, the number of yearly firearms sales has been spiking over the years. In light of these numbers, the trafficking of illicit firearms remains a pervasive issue in ASEAN countries. The ASEAN’s cross-border nature makes it challenging to stop illegal trade, including smuggling firearms and ammunition in the region. And as noted before, arms smuggling considerably heightens the potential for violence of a wide variety of non-state actors – from separatists, crime syndicates, terrorists, and drug lords to pirates. In consequence, it poses a threat to the safety and security of communities in the region.

According to Thai gun expert Wittaya Suksomsote, despite strict prosecution of illegal gun ownership, guns that have not been registered are widely available in Thailand due to the ease and low cost of acquiring them through online markets. He further stated in a local interview that approximately 97-98 percent of illegal firearms, smuggled from neighboring countries or stolen, are primarily used to commit crimes.

With all facts and figures stated clearly, it is evident that stricter, more robust techniques need to be deployed to curb this pressing issue. One long-lasting solution can be for law enforcement to rely heavily on data regarding patterns of criminal behavior over time to apprehend trafficking channels and the perpetrators of a crime and curtail and prevent such crime.

Strategic crime forecasting software solutions can help create quantitative patterns and assist in research regarding prospective firearms channels. This type of analysis aims to identify long-term problems and develop a procedure to tackle them. It includes assessing various programs, scrutiny of issues, and other policies. We can conclude that such statistical mechanisms and research techniques do not just have the potential to give the required results – The safety of our society – but also to assess the efficacy of laws combating illegal guns. 

Many private players, such as the Wynyard Group and Rhodium Incident Management (RIM), have indulged in such strategic crime analytics software solutions for everyone’s benefit. Wynyard’s Advanced Crime Analytics and RIM’s Suite thrive on drawing patterns. They provide one-stop field access to many critical data points, suspect data, and necessary situational information Cloud-based technology means near real-time coordination of information between responders on-scene and remotely. Wynyard’s Advanced Crime Analytics helps trace gun data and highlights how guns flow into one country from another with weaker gun laws. The platform further provides data to inform local law enforcement about gun crimes in their areas.

The information from ACA or any other such resolute software can produce actionable data points in the form of predictions and patterns to apprehend miscreants before committing unlawful activities or, at the least, curtail them in the very beginning. The data-driven confirmation of the spread of illegal firearms can also be used to encourage policy decisions concerning future gun laws worldwide.

 

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