Leader comment: 'Edinburgh hasn't escaped blight of guns'

Gun crime is all too easily characterised and satirised in the Capital as a particularly Glaswegian problem.

The reality is that Edinburgh has not escaped the escalating use of firearms blighting Britain's cities.

The latest shooting we report today may not be the most serious in recent years - no-one died - but it does appear to continue a disturbing trend of incidents spreading to new neighbourhoods.

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Newcraighall, on this occasion, follows Jock's Lodge, Maybury, the Inch, Gracemount, Clermiston, Granton and Pilton as scenes of high-profile shootings in the last four years.

Our problems are nowhere near the scale of other cities, such as Manchester, Glasgow and even Bristol. And shootings which involve anything other than young crime gang members attacking each other remain extremely rare.

But it is clear that for a new generation of city criminals, carrying a gun is an accepted part of their chosen "career".

Lothian and Borders Police have known this for some time and can boast some notable successes in targeting crime gang leaders.

For example, the recent jailing of drug dealers Mark Richardson and the so-called "untouchable" James Carlin.

Spreading the fear among these gangs that they will be caught and locked up is the most effective deterrent we have.

That is why it is essential even in these times of cutbacks that the police maintain the wherewithal to target these gangs wherever and whenever necessary.

Snow joke

Early morning drivers were forced to scrape car windows and householders cranked up the heating this week as the first icy winds of winter blew in.

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It was a brisk reminder of last year's conditions, which were some of the most difficult in decades.

Then, snow-blocked streets for days at a time and rubbish lay uncollected for weeks because lorries could not get up hills.

Hospitals reported rises in fractures from falls, while schools across the Lothians were shut.

There is no way of knowing if there will be a repeat this year, or if we'll get "lucky" with one of the milder, wetter winters that have been more the norm of late.

But the council has to be prepared for the worst - and that means being able to keep the Capital's streets and pavements as clear as possible at all times.

Snow ploughs that only work 9 to 5 won't do that.