The European Commission awarded the project proposal INSIGHT, a follow-up project on illegal firearms trafficking and gun violence from Professor Social Resilience and Security Marieke Liem and PhD-researcher Katharina Krüssselmann of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA).
Marieke Liem: ‘This is great news. The proposal was accepted with overall high scores (89%) and reviewers considering it an ‘excellent project that meets the very accurate need for a real-life tracking tool of gun violence and seizures in the EU’.
The project will start in September this year for a duration of 24 months. In total 640.000 euro will be divided among all partners. Liem: ‘We are working in a consortium together with the Flemish Peace Institute, the Small Arms Survey, SIPRI and Textgain, with full operational support from the Belgian Federal Police, the Dutch National Police, the European Firearms Experts, Europol and SEESAC. In this project we (Leiden University) will focus on the way in which firearms are related to firearms violence, including lethal violence. It deepens our understanding of our initial findings in project TARGET.’
This time, the role of the ‘Leiden team’ will be smaller than in TARGET but according to Marieke Liem it is still a great opportunity to continue the work in this area. Liem explains the main focus of project INSIGHT: ‘This project focuses on illegal firearms trafficking. The illicit access to firearms increases the risk of crime-related and domestic violence, that may escalate into homicide. Moreover, illegal access to firearms helps in facilitating other forms of criminal activities. In this project, we seek to develop an online platform which hosts an online tool that tracks firearms incidents and seizures based on AI-driven data-collection of media reports, law enforcement data, and public health data. This project heavily builds upon the research activities and outcomes of Project TARGET.’