The government has put forward a special plan for Naples to counteract increasing levels of gang-related violent crime in the city, where there have been 12 murders in the past two weeks.

Measures include an increase of 1,000 police and law and order officials (including a rapid response unit) and the installation of more surveillance cameras (particularly in high risk areas), as well as better street lighting in the city centre.

The prime minister, Romano Prodi has denied that army troops are being sent to tackle the situation in Naples, saying that an increased police presence is more important at the moment. However, he warns that troops could be deployed in the future if the situation does not improve.

There have been more than 72 murders in Naples since the beginning of 2006, with an estimated 50 of these being Camorra-related. Some 3,400 robberies and muggings

have been reported in the city so far this year, an average of almost 12 violent crimes a day.