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Glasgow: Murder Capital of Europe 2003-11-28

Posted by clype in Europe, Glasgow, Health, Intolerance, Statistics.

Glasgow was yesterday branded the murder capital of western Europe by shock new figures.

The horror statistic was revealed alongside damning evidence that the number of ‘illegal killings’, ‘murders’ and ‘culpable homicides’ in Scotland has soared while the conviction rate has plummeted.

A report from ‘The Scottish Executive’ confirmed that the number of people dying in violent incidents had rocketed to its highest level since 1995.

Most deadly attacks were fuelled by ‘booze’ or drugs — and stabbings were the main cause of fatal injuries.

There were 125 incidents which resulted in killings in 2002 forty of them in Glasgow alone and 127 people died as a result.

  • The majority of victims were stabbed to death by friends or relatives who were in a drunken rage.
  • The statistics showed that 186 people were arrested for the 127 killings. Nine out of 10 were caught within a month of the incident.
  • But convictions occurred in only 71 of the 125 homicide cases, compared to 75 convictions in 113 cases the previous year.
  • Eight of the killers in 2002 were under 16 and 46 were aged 16 to 20.

According to the report, the typical murderer was male, aged 16 to 29, lived in Glasgow, knew the victim and stabbed them to death with a knife during a drunken weekend row.

Yesterday, Justice Minister Ms.Cathy Jamieson vowed to crack down on the killer culture which has blighted so many lives. She said:

‘This kind of behaviour and its shocking consequences can no longer be tolerated in a modern Scotland.

‘Too many of these cases result when either the accused or the victim is drunk.

‘Most occur at the weekend and involve young men.’

The figures for 2002 showed Glasgow had a homicide rate of 58.7 people per million of population more than twice the level of the other Scottish cities.

Aberdeen was the second most dangerous city, with an average of 21.9 killings per million while Dundee had 15.9 victims and Edinburgh was safest with just 15.6 fatalities.

  • Glasgow had the highest rate of any city in western Europe, including Belfast, Madrid, Paris, London, Amsterdam and Dublin.

Only the Baltic states’ cities had a higher rate, along with American crime centres such as New York and Washington and the lawless Russian capital, Moscow.

The Justice Minister added:

‘I believe reforms to drinking laws now being considered will reduce this potentially fatal connection between over-indulging in alcohol and violent crime.

‘On knife crime, we are committed to reviewing the law and enforcement of such crimes. We have already started work towards that end.’

The Strathclyde Police area is where nearly two thirds of the killings (81 out of 127) took place, yet The Chief Constable of Strathclyde Mr.Willie Rae refuse to comment –but Superintendent Mr.Mike Dean described the success of ‘Operation Magnet‘, which seized more than 200 knives in a six-week crackdown centred on Govan, Glasgow. He said:

‘We took in 40 lock knives, 13 steak knives and 25 kitchen knives.

‘Operation Magnet has been extremely successful in tackling the carrying of offensive weapons.’

‘We have also launched a new initiative which aims to target particular “hot-spots”.

‘At the weekend, nine weapons, including three machetes and an axe, were taken off the streets.’

SNP leader Mr.John Swinney MSP said:

‘These figures are horrifying; not only are more homicides being committed, but the conviction rate has fallen by almost 15 per cent.

‘Scotland as a whole has one of the highest homicide rates in the EU.

‘And Glasgow’s figure is double that of London– and higher even than Belfast.

‘Knife deaths alone have almost doubled since 1997.

‘These figures leave Jack Mcconnell without an alibi for Labour’s record of abject failure.

‘His Executive loves to talk tough on crime, but the reality is they are convicted by their own statistics.’

And The Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party justice spokesman Ms.Annabel Goldie said:

‘Unless we adopt a zero tolerance stance, Scotland will continue on its depressing descent into more violence, more crime and more human misery.

‘This country must be made a safer place to live.’


1. Clype - 2003-11-29

“Glasgow is Britain’s murder capital as knife crime spirals”, Paul Kelbie, Scotland Correspondent, the Independent, Saturday, 29 November 2003

“Groups of youngsters, with names such as the Young Southside Cumbie and the Royston Shamrock, wander the city centre at night armed with knives and heavy leather belts, often high on drink or drugs.

“The gangs also trade insults in cyberspace, because each group has a website boasting of violent exploits and glorifying the gang culture. They then head into the city centre, looking for fights.

“The murder statistics for last year showed that in at least eight cases, the killers were under 16, while 46 were aged between 16 and 20.

“But it is not just the gang members who are in danger. The knife culture has become fashionable among teenagers across the social spectrum.

A recent survey carried out by Glasgow City Council and Strathclyde Police to find out young people’s attitudes towards crime, vandalism, graffiti and personal safety discovered that one in five young people in the city carries a weapon for protection, citing fear of gangs, drug users and of walking through rough areas.”

2. Clype - 2004-04-11

“Murder capital paints itself the wrong shade of black”, Lorna Martin, Scotland editor Observer Newspaper, Sunday 11 April 2004

“…The city is now the murder capital of western Europe. In the first three months of this year, 18 men, women and children were murdered, pushing the homicide rate to 9.4 per million of the population – twice as high as London, and greater than Manchester, Belfast and New York.

Glasgow is desperately trying to alter its image and has launched a marketing campaign, using £1.5 million from Glasgow City Council and the local tourist board, and almost £750,000 of European funds. The year-long advertising blitz will try to rebrand the city as a cool, cosmopolitan metropolis to lure tourists. But in the four weeks since the campaign began there have been eight murders…”


3. Clype - 2005-09-26

Scotland has second highest murder rate in Europe”, Gerard Seenan, The Guardian, Monday 26 September 2005

“…according to a study by the World Health Organisation…only Finland has a higher murder rate than Scotland…”

“…[but] an United Nations report last week … said Scotland was the most violent country in the developed world: more than 2,000 people were subject to a violent attack each week, more than 10 times official police figures…

“Another study from the University of California, to be published later this year, will claim Scotland has a higher homicide rate than America, Israel, Uzbekistan, Chile and Uruguay.

“… Glasgow… Scotland’s second city is in fact the murder capital of Europe…”

“…Official figures show that serious crime in the city has risen heavily: murders increased by 19% from 70 in 2003 to 83 in 2004. Attempted murders rose by a third in the same period, from 343 to 459.


4. Clype - 2006-09-24

“One more killing and Limerick is murder capital of western Europe”, Jim Cusack, Independent.ie., Sunday 24 September 2006

“With a population of just around 100,000 (60,000 inside the town boundary and the remainder in suburbs) and an average of five gangland murders a year, Limerick is earning itself the unenviable reputation of having the highest rate of crime-related homicide in Europe.

Officially Glasgow has the highest homicide rate in western Europe with just under five homicides per hundred thousand of population. With one more murder this year, Limerick will pass out Glasgow and earn the unenviable title of western Europe’s murder capital.”


5. j wilson - 2009-06-24

I was born in Glasgow ,but left for los angeles in 1967. I have been here most of my life now,and have never seen a violent act. I love Glasgow,but am so afraid for its future. Spare the and spoil the child is not an old fashioned cliche,its a startling reality. We have become prisoners of political correctedness. Social anarchy is the only way the gutless politicians will act; and even then only if their safety is in jeopardy.

6. THE WAN N ONLY - 2010-02-10

awwwwww purrre mentallllll =P =P =P a love stabin sprees

7. LUBBY - 2010-03-08

OH aye one and only
ur an ejet for if u think that is fun. Take it no one u loved has bn murdered that u loved so much its hard 2 get up as theyr never gonny b hear again Yes the one wee turn 2 bit ur mental ur needen a bit of help i am takin it u have had a horrible upbringing and think this world owes u well sorry pal bt time to stop liven in the past and make ur own future,

8. James Mathews - 2010-05-13

please send me full details and history of crime in glasgow involving paul ferri,arthur thompson,mark clinton and tam Mcgraw

9. Gary - 2010-06-15

I am hoping to start a workshop piece to go into schools and educate young people in Glasgow about the risks of carrying weapons and being part of the gang culture. I am doing research into how to tackle this best, looking at case studies etc. But i really want feed back from parents who have children aged 9-16. My idea is to do a performance, with actors about a young person who gets sucked into this type of behaviour by making one or two bad decision. After the performance, we’ll do a workshop with the kids and encourage them to find the answers as to how and why the young person got into a bad situation.
Knife crime will continue to be on the rise unless we try to reach young people now.
I would really appreciate spme thoughts about what are the most important issues to cover and how hard hitting would you the parent like this subject to be tackled.
Thank you for time.

10. Stabber - 2011-02-14

Two injured in Gorbals street samurai sword fight, BBC News

11. Lollypopman - 2012-10-06

Thugs stab man in broad daylight yards away from children’s play area…


12. Paul Ferris - 2012-12-19
13. Frankie Wilson - 2013-01-15
14. Oldbill - 2013-04-24

The UK Peace Index, from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), said GLASGOW had the highest rates of homicides and violent crime.

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