Are gun collection campaigns a panacea?

Frank Weerman, professor of Juvenile Criminology at Erasmus School of Law, states that the number of violent incidents involving weapons has increased among youth in  2018 and 2019. Several gun collection campaigns get organised throughout the country, but are they effective? Weerman says not to expect too much from it.

Various gun collection campaigns get organised throughout the country, with the aim of getting all weapons off the street, as every weapon counts. During a recent collection campaign in Arnhem, no fewer than 178 weapons were seized. In the area around The Hague, no less than 669 weapons were seized last month. This seems like an outstanding result, but is it effective?

Week of Safety

The Week of Safety will take place from 11 until 17 October 2021, during which a national collection campaign will take place. In 2018 and 2019, there was an increase in the number of stabbing incidents among youth, but compared to the 1990s, it is already getting better. Collection campaigns are certainly not a panacea, according to Weerman. “Sending out a signal – not to be confused with symbolic politics – and setting a standard can be quite helpful, but don’t expect too much from it.”

Effectiveness

The collection campaigns aim to reduce the number of stabbing incidents among youth by providing the youth with the opportunity to hand in their weapons without consequences. Weerman states “that the idea that every weapon of the street is one is self-evident, but research into the effectiveness of the collection campaigns is not yet available. Therefore, the effectiveness cannot be determined yet.”

Professor
More information

You can read the full article in de Volkskrant here (in Dutch).