(CBS) – Chicago police officers have taken nearly 5,200 guns off the streets so far this year – about 100 more than this time last year.
As CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, Chicago Police Department officials say the city’s investment in crime-fighting technology is helping officers.
Tevion Walker is one of the repeat gun offenders driving violence in Chicago, according to police. The 21-year-old was picked up Friday near 79th and Drexel and charged with possession of an illegal handgun.
It’s Walker’s third weapons offense while he was on parole for a previous weapons offense from August 2015, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson says.
He says Walker and other repeat gun offenders are emboldened by the lack of accountability in Illinois, and he hopes tougher gun laws will change that.
“My goal isn’t to incarcerate more people. My goal is to send that message that if you pick up a gun, you’ll pay the price for it,” Johnson says.
Technology like Shot Spotter is helping in some of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods, he says.
“It gives us a head start into perhaps capturing those offenders, or least for recovering the ballistics evidence,” he says.
CPD says shootings are down from 1,868 last year to 1,624 this year. Meantime, gun arrests are up with 2,401 this year compared to 1,820 last year.
Murder arrests are also up, with 152 this year, compared to 138 in 2016.
Johnson says the real key to solving many of these crimes is help from the community.
“The people in the neighborhoods hear and know who these individuals are, so when the neighborhoods get sick and tired of it, get fed up and start giving us the information that we need, then we’ll start seeing a reduction in gun violence,” he says.
Johnson says he would also like to see tougher laws that hold people who buy guns accountable when the gun is not reported lost or stolen. He says that would cut down on people buying guns out of state and giving them to criminals here in Chicago.