Glasgow is UK’s least peaceful urban area

A recent study by the Institute for Economics and Peace reveals that, while the UK is 11% less violent than a decade ago, Glasgow is the least peaceful of all the major urban areas, with London ranked as the second most violent.

Scotland, according to the figures, has the highest homicide rate of the four home nations. It also has the highest violent crime rate, at almost 1,600 violent crimes per 100,000 people; this is almost double the violent crime rate in Wales, the most peaceful home nation. When compared against the other 11 UK regions, Scotland is the second most violent region, beaten to the bottom only by London.

The report found that Glasgow has major issues with gangs and knife crime. Recent studies have found that up to 3,500 members between the ages of 11 and 23 have joined one of the 170 street gangs within the city’s borders. Furthermore, the homicide rate for Glasgow males between 10 and 29 is comparable to rates of Argentina, Costa Rica and Lithuania.

Notwithstanding the figures for Glasgow, recorded violence in Scotland follows the same downward trends observed in other parts of the UK. Incidences of homicide and violent crime have decreased around 25% and 17% respectively since 2007.

The study found that a number of factors appear to affect rates of violent crime including an aging population and decreasing alcohol consumption. While Scottish police do not record whether alcohol was a factor in violent crimes, alcohol specific offences also show positive downtrends. Drunkenness, including categories of drunk and incapable, and drunk with a child, dropped by over 25% in the period between 2001 and 2010. Recorded numbers of drunk driving also dropped 20% in the same period.

The report’s data show that improving incomes, access to employment and protection from the worst effects of poverty for the poorest communities could have a significant impact on reducing violence.

A close correlation between levels of violence was also found with the number of single-parent households, overcrowded housing and high rates of teenage pregnancy. While there are many factors at play, it appears that areas with high concentrations of small businesses and retired people and easy access to primary schools were associated with higher levels of peace.

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