Glasgow Is The UK's Most Violent Area

Glasgow has been ranked as the UK's most violent area in a new report.

Problems with gangs and knife crime contributed to the rating in the UK Peace Index produced by the US and Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). 

The index has drawn together more than 10 years of data, looking at levels of violence across the country as well as the cost to the economy.

Areas were ranked according to the number of homicides and levels of violent and weapon crime, public disorder and numbers of police officers per 100,000 people. 

The report describes Glasgow as ``the least peaceful major urban centre in the UK'', with London and Belfast in second and third place.

 Scotland has the highest homicide rate of any of the four UK nations, as well as the highest violent crime rate, at more than 1,500 per 100,000 people, the report said. 

It was beaten by London for the title of most violent region overall. 

Within Scotland, the Orkney Islands was the area deemed the most peaceful followed by Aberdeenshire and Moray. 

Following Glasgow as the most violent areas were West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire. 

The report said disorder and violence were linked to low income and poor employment opportunities, health,education, and access to housing and services. 

Across Europe, the UK has had the largest drop in total crime of any country in the past decade, according to the IEP. 

In the last five years homicides dropped 30% in Scotland and violent crime is down 16%. 

The Index puts the trend down to an ageing population, a decrease in alcohol consumption, a rise in wages and changes in police practices. 

The Index suggests that violent crime still costs the UK economy #124 billion a year. 

IEP founder and chairman Steve Killelea said: ``Glasgow is one of the poorest areas in the UK and there is a strong association between crime and poverty and lack of employment. 

``These are the things that seem to be consistent. 

``Single parents seem to be associated with crime areas, as well as teenage pregnancies. 

``Also the sort of environment you are living in - clean streets, well-painted buildings for example.'' 

Mr Killelea said the report would be helpful in terms of policy debate and provides a basis for further study. 

``It's also a tool to better inform the public about the dimensions of violence and peace, and the economic value associated with peace,'' he said. 

The report argues that jail is not a cost-effective solution to reducing violence, with a price tag of£40,800 per prisoner per year. 

The IEP has previously produced reports on the US and a Mexico Peace Index is due to be published later this year.