Street Sweep Targets Gary's Criminals, Guns

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Sweep nets 25 arrests on drug, warrant or gun-related charges along with three gun seizures. Chris Coffey reports. (Published Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014)

    More than 50 law enforcement officers from 13 departments combined forces recently to conduct a one night street sweep of Gary, Indiana.

    The city was once known as the "murder capital of the U.S." in the 1990s, is experiencing an increase in homicides -- 55 in 2013 compared to 42 in 2012, according to city records.

    The police sweep was fast-paced and high energy. The goals? Tackle crime and take guns off the streets of Gary.

    The sweep netted 25 arrests on drug, warrant or gun-related charges. Police also seized three guns.

    The Gary Police Department said other violent crimes such as shootings and rapes are decreasing, however, Lake County Sheriff John Buncich told NBC 5 that gang activity is spreading to nearby cities.

    "Some of these gangs are becoming younger and more violent, better armed," Buncich said.

    The warming weather means police expect to get busier.

    "Naturally when there's that many people outside, tempers start to flare and people start making bad decisions," said Commander Matthew Eaton of the Lake County Sheriff's Department.

    Records show Gary experienced more than 104 shootings in 2013.

    Buncich said they conduct several street sweeps a year, and he said more are needed in the future. He said public feedback is positive so far.

    "They don't want to be prisoners in their homes," Buncich said. "They want to live safely and freely."