Phoenix police report hundreds of “crime guns” have been taken out of the hands of criminals just over a month after the launch of Operation Gun Crime Crackdown.
The operation began July 5 and focuses on reducing the number of violent gun crimes in the city.
Enforcement is aimed at taking guns away from those who are not supposed to have them while protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens, a city release stated.
“Guns are getting into the wrong hands leaving children without parents, families devastated and communities living in fear. We must do something to protect our children, our community’s officers, from gun violence,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said at a news conference announcing the operation.
Phoenix police have seized 711 guns from July 5 to Aug. 15, including more than a dozen guns with a “conversion device” on them, according to the release. A conversion device is an illegal part added to a gun to make it fully automatic. Police said they also seized a flare gun that was modified to shoot a 9mm round.
During that same period, Phoenix police also made 526 arrests associated with gun crimes, authorities said.
“When we can take guns off the streets and out of the hands of people who should not have them, we’re improving safety throughout the city,” Mayor Kate Gallego said.
“It shows how much we can accomplish when agencies collaborate on a common goal. I’m very grateful for our partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the Maricopa County Attorney.”
The collaborative effort of local, state and federal agencies involved in the operation led to the arrest of several individuals involved in multiple violent crimes, including several homicides which remain under investigation, according to city officials.
Information on those will be released later, to preserve the integrity of the ongoing investigations, the release stated.
“The results of this targeted effort are a great example of how working with our law enforcement partners can enhance the great work the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department do every day,” said Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams.
Having agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives embedded with Phoenix detectives has, according to the city, shortened the turn-around time of analyzing evidence from shooting scenes.
As part of the operation, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office geographically assigned supervisors to coordinate with police precinct personnel. MCAO liaisons have worked with Phoenix police to review gun cases to secure appropriate release conditions for those arrested, according to the release.
“I commend the brave Phoenix police officers who go out every day and face dangerous and sometimes deadly scenarios involving those who commit crimes with a gun,” Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said.
“I support the lawful ownership of firearms, and this partnership is about prosecuting those who seek to break the law and do harm in our community.”
There is also a tip line - 602 644-5805 - for community members to call or email with any information they may have on someone they know who is illegally in possession of a firearm, according to the release.