An action plan targeting gun and gang violence in four of Britain's major cities has halved the number of firearms-related injuries, the Home Office said in Birmingham today.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the Tackling Gangs Action Programme saw a 51% fall in gun injuries from 93 in October to 46 in February.
There was also a 27% decrease in the overall number of gun offences in the four areas - London, Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester - from 165 in October to 120 in February.
The Government also announced - on the day of the Crewe by-election - that it is to inject £5 million into a new fight against knife crime. About 10 towns and cities will be selected to run pilot schemes designed to combat knife-related crime.
It comes the day after senior judges expressed their concern over the "escalating and grave" problem of knives and other offensive weapons being carried on Britain's streets.
The Home Secretary said a new anti-knife campaign will see the Government appeal directly to mothers in a series of advertisements.
The ads will be placed in women's weekly magazines, and are designed to encourage mothers to talk to their children about the dangers of carrying knives.
In a speech at Villa Park today, Ms Smith, the MP for Redditch, said: "Talk it over with your kids. Understand the pressures they're under, and do what you can to change the perception that 'everyone is doing it.' They aren't.
"Point out the dangers. They'll listen. Give them support, the advice and the dose of good old-fashioned common-sense they need - and they'll thank you for it."
One of the ads reads: "He already knows about the birds and the bees. You need to talk to him about the knives and the blades."
The Home Secretary said of the gangs action plan: "These early findings are encouraging, which is why I want to spread this approach to knife crime and build on what works.
"I'm determined that we do all we can to get all weapons off our streets and investing £5 million today to target knife hotspots across the country. I hope communities will welcome the increased use of knife arches and stop and search to protect their young people."
The Department for Children, Schools and Families today also launched guidance for teachers on how to tackle gang-related incidents in schools.
Children and young people's minister Beverley Hughes said: "Schools are uniquely placed to spot the early signs of pupil involvement in gangs, and to work collaboratively with other agencies to tackle it.
"The guidance I am launching today provides straightforward advice to schools about what to look for, and how to reduce risks of pupils becoming involved with gangs."
The Home Secretary renewed a pledge to ensure witnesses who want to give evidence in court against gang members are given anonymity from the earliest stages.
There will also be a greater emphasis on providing safe housing and education for gang members who go leave their violent lifestyles behind, she said.
In her speech today, Ms Smith said: "In many gun and gang crimes, witnesses know that defendants and their associates have access to firearms and are prepared to use them.
"We cannot tolerate a situation where witnesses are too scared to come forward, where they are denied the right to access the courts and give evidence free from fear. Anonymity should only be used in exceptional cases.
"And where it is used, I believe it can help to re-balance the scales of justice for the witness without undermining the rights of the defendant."
New measures for witnesses will be introduced later this year, she added.
Senior police officers have warned the Government that members of the public need protection earlier in order to convince them to come forward.
A trio of senior judges yesterday warned that knife offences were now reaching "epidemic proportions" and must be met with severe sentences.
Sir Igor Judge, sitting with two other judges in the Court of Appeal in London, said that "carrying a knife or an offensive weapon without reasonable excuse is a crime which is being committed far too often by far too many people".