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Rise in murders across city linked to 'worrying' increase in shootings.

Byline: Nick McCarthy Crime Correspondent

THE number of murders in Birmingham rose from 11 to 16 last year, new crime figures have revealed.

Latest Home Office figures also show attempted murders more than doubled in the same period from 25 in 2014-15 to 57 in the following year.

Some of the increase is linked to the gun crimewave which has gripped the city since last summer.

Four men were shot dead in a six-month period between October and March, and many more were injured in dozens of shootings. Convictions included two men who were jailed for 50 years for the murder of Connor Smith, who was shot dead in Kings Norton last October.

Leon Frye, 28, of Rodney Close, Ladywood, was sentenced to 30 years, while accomplice Philip Baillie was handed a 20-year sentence.

Court cases and investigations are still ongoing into other murders, including Akhtar Javeed, Derek Junior Myers and Kenichi Phillips.

West Midlands Chief Constable David Thompson told the Police and Crime Board in January that shootings were happening in the city with "concerning regularity".

Earlier this month he told the Board that the situation had eased, but said the problem of guns had "not gone away and will not go away".

"The concerning regularity we spoke about at the start of the year has now ceased," he reported.

"But I still remain worried about the level of availability that exists, although that availability is not anywhere near European levels, or the dark days of the early 2000s."

Last week, a man turned up at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital with a gunshot wound to his shoulder after two cars were hit in a drive-by shooting in Sparkbrook.

Police are still looking for witnesses to the incident, which happened in Barrows Road at 8.15pm on Wednesday night.

The Home Office figures revealed that there were 111 'murderous crimes' in 2015-16 across the West Midlands, which included 30 homicides, 79 attempted murders and two conspiracies to murder.

This was an increase of 39 per cent compared with the previous year.

Across the country as a whole, there has been the biggest increase in five years in homicide rates, which are up six per cent.

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 28, 2016
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