Project INSIGHT has launched an artificial intelligence-powered monitor of firearm incidents on the new online knowledge portal Gunviolence.eu, marking the end of two years of research. The portal and new research products on topics related to firearm violence will be made public on 7 December 2023 during a conference hosted in the Flemish Parliament. Belgian Minister of Justice Paul Van Tigchelt will also take the floor.
Project INSIGHT (International Network Studying Incidents with Guns: Harm & Trafficking) aims to prevent violence in society by radically improving data collection on firearm violence in the European Union. The project is implemented by five research institutes—the Flemish Peace Institute (coordinator), , the Small Arms Survey, Textgain, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), and Leiden University Institute of Security and Global Affairs— with support from Europol, European Firearms Experts, the Belgian Federal Police, the Dutch Police and the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC). The project is funded by the EU Internal Security Fund – Police.
The new online platform—Gunviolence.eu—is freely available to policymakers, police officers, strategic analysts, researchers, journalists and the general public from 7 December 2023.
Central to this platform is an online Incident Monitor that collects up-to-date information on firearms incidents in the 27 EU member states. Powered by artificial intelligence technology—using Machine Learning (ML) and Large Language Models (LLMs)—the monitor continuously scans more than 350 local news sources to identify and analyse relevant firearms incidents. The monitor was set up, trained and tested between January 2022 and December 2023, and can now provide a continuously updated picture of firearms incidents in every EU country at any time. Monthly trend reports will also be generated through the monitor.
Nils Duquet, director of the Flemish Peace Institute, says: “This monitor – thanks to the sophisticated algorithm and self-learning nature of the AI technology used – will become a crucial tool for a more robust and effective approach to firearm violence by law enforcement agencies. But researchers and journalists will also have much better, more complete and recent data at their disposal to uncover new, dangerous trends in all 27 EU member states.”
In addition to the monitor, eight new reports will also be published at the launch of Gunviolence.eu. These reports, written by researchers from the institutes involved in Project INSIGHT, examine the latest European trends in lethal and non-lethal firearm violence, criminal firearm violence, domestic firearm violence, gender-based firearm violence, types of firearms used in violence, and the traffic in privately-made firearms and ammunition. Gunviolence.eu also contains unique key data sheets for each member state, making firearm-related issues more tangible. A thematic overview of European firearms research and links to official data sources are also available.