More than 5,300 guns have been seized by Chicago police so far this year, an increase of more than 23% over the past year, according to records obtained by NBC 5.
The records, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, show that police seized a total of 5,352 firearms between Jan. 1 and June 16, an increase of 23.43% over the same time period in 2020.
Police have stepped up enforcement efforts in recent months in an attempt to combat gun violence in the city. In Area Three, located on the city’s North Side, gun seizures are up by more than 104% over the previous year, with massive increases reported in two specific districts.
District 18, located on the Near North Side, has seen 169 guns seized so far in 2021, an increase of 177% over last year. District 20, comprised of several neighborhoods on the Far North Side, including Budlong Woods and Edgewater, has seen a staggering 1,113% increase in gun seizures, with 279 guns taken in by police so far this year.
Not every district has seen massive increases in seizures, however. In Area Five, located on Chicago’s Northwest Side, gun seizures are down 31% in District 14 and by nearly 44% in District 17, which is headquartered in Albany Park.
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Despite the crackdown on illegal weapons, shootings in Chicago have continued to rise over previous years. According to the latest data compiled by the Chicago Sun-Times, there were at least 1,842 shootings in the city so far this year (through Monday morning), compared to 1,625 at the same time last year and 1,171 in the same time period in 2019.
Homicides are also up slightly year-over-year, with 331 reported as of Monday, compared to 319 in the same time period last year. There were 247 homicides in the same timeframe in 2019, marking a 34% increase in 2021.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown says that the city’s focus on seizing illegal weapons is the right approach, and that the department is doing everything it can to address the increase in violence.
“Every gun recovered by a Chicago police officer is a deadly force encounter,” he said in a press conference earlier this month. “Also, every gun recovered has a potential to reduce violence from firearms. With our whole of government approach, we’re actually starting to bend the curve of violence in the city, but for those sensational incidents.”