A major campaign to combat gun crime on the streets of Merseyside will be launched today.

Independent charity Crimestoppers is calling on the public to support a crackdown on armed thugs causing fear and misery across the region.

The appeal follows the gunning down of Thomas Baker on Friday ?a brutal act that confirmed 2016/17 will see Merseyside鈥檚 first rise in shootings for years.

The past 12 months have seen gun violence rip through the heart of Liverpool and the surrounding area.

Since January 2016 there has been more than 75 shootings, leading to the deaths of three men ?Mark Hillman, Blake Brown and Thomas Baker.

Watch: Police hold press conference over Thomas Baker murder

Thomas Baker murder: Police hold press conference

As well as damage to cars, windows and front doors, those willing to pull the trigger have left dozens injured, with casualties including a baby in Netherley and a toddler in Speke.

Shotgun blasts in Speke and Hunts Cross last March even left one victim facing partial blindness after he was shot in the head, and another fearing amputation after being blasted in the legs in an horrific home raid.

The catalogue of criminality has been concentrated in South Sefton, Liverpool and Knowsley with hotspots including Kirkdale, Speke, Stockbridge Village and Netherton.

But there has even been trouble in St Helens which, like Wirral, tends to see less gun crime than its neighbouring Mersey boroughs.

A van was shot at in the town late last year while one of 2016鈥檚 most shocking hold-ups saw a St Helens priest forced to empty his church safe at gunpoint.

Police forces measure gun crime across financial years and Merseyside has seen the number of shootings fall in each of the previous three ?with 60 recorded in 2015/16.

The assassination of 44-year-old Thomas Baker outside a gym at the Prescot Road Meat Market complex on Friday, however, is thought to have been the 61st shooting of the current term.

Watch: Huge convoy of police vehicles drive through south Liverpool

What was this police convoy in Liverpool on Sunday?

The 鈥榯argeted鈥?morning attack came less than a week after a huge convoy of police vehicles drove through south Liverpool in a dramatic procession described as gun crime disruption activity by Merseyside Police.

Video of the action ?which saw more than 20 vans, squad cars and unmarked police vehicles drive through Toxteth, Aigburth, Garston and Speke - went viral as social media lit up with sightings of the blue light parade.

The launch of today鈥檚 campaign is separate to police activity and is thought to have been planned before the murder of Everton dad Mr Baker.

It is run by Crimestoppers, a charity independent of police, that appeals to the public to pass on information about criminal activity anonymously.

The personal details of anyone who offers information to the organisation are not passed onto Merseyside Police.

In the past it has led a series of 鈥楳ost Wanted鈥?campaigns, several of which targeted suspected Liverpool criminals thought to be living in Spain and the Netherlands.

One man who was part of its last campaign is David Ungi Jnr.

Detectives suspect he was among a group of three men in a car that chased down Garston teen Vinny Waddington in 2015. One of the group then fatally shot him. Two others have been found guilty of murder but Mr Ungi, who police would still like to speak with in relation to the attack, remains on the run.

Crimestoppers is urging anyone who has information on the location of guns and those responsible for storing, supplying and firing them to contact the charity.

They will also be launching a targeted advertising campaign in the coming days, with a digital ad van to be driven through a parts of Merseyside on Thursday.

David Ungi, 24, is the subject of a National Crime Agency appeal over alleged links to the shooting of Vinny Waddington.

Its routes will include Speke, Bootle, Norris Green, Wavertree and Old Swan ?close to Friday鈥檚 murder scene.

Urging people to come forward and make Merseyside a safer place, North West Regional Manager for Crimestoppers, Gary Murray, said: 鈥淲e want to appeal to local people to tell us who is responsible for these crimes, without fear of repercussion, but we also need to find out where these guns are being stored so that the police can make our streets safer.

鈥淲e know that picking up the phone, or logging onto our site, is probably one of the hardest things you鈥檒l ever have to do. But in 28 years, we have never broken our promise to the public that those who contact us will always remain anonymous.?/p>

*If you have any information on any gun related crime then please contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or fill out the anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org.