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Minneapolis police confiscate record amount of illegal guns, homicides down 17%

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis police officers have confiscated the most illegal guns ever off city streets.

Chief of Police Brian O'Hara says about 1,100 guns were recovered in 2022--that's the equal vent of three guns a night.

Reg Chapman sat down with the chief to see what's working and plans to keep the city safe over the New Year's weekend.

Despite being down several hundred officers, Minneapolis police have taken a big step towards making the city safer.

"It's an astronomical amount of guns--basically 1,100 firearms taken off the street from people who should hot have them," said O'Hara.

MPD reports a 5.3% increase in the number of guns confiscated in 2021.

O'Hara says the work of his officers and law enforcement partners has been intentional.

Focusing on the one percent, the worst of the worst--those pulling the triggers of these illegal guns.

O'Hara says a joint investigation led to a big drop in gunfire.

"[It] resulted in an arrest in someone we believed was trafficking ghost firearms as well as switches, which are devices that enable guns to fire automatically, and since that arrest in August of this year we've seen a remarkable decrease in the amount of automatic gunfire detected in the city, "O'Hara said.

Because of this, O'Hara says the city is seeing real results.

"There are well over 100 fewer victims of gun violence this year non-fatal shooting victims and there are 17 fewer homicide victims in the city. While it's certainly not a victory lap--there is still an outrageous amount of gun violence in this city, "O'Hara said.

Violent crimes in Minneapolis decreased in 2022 with robberies and carjackings down nearly 19% and homicides by 17%. The city's third and fourth precincts saw the biggest decrease in crime.

O'Hara hopes to ride this momentum into the new year by making plans to keep the city safe as residents welcome in  2023.

"We have a robust late-night safety plan for New Year's Eve, particularly in downtown but throughout all the precincts across the city. There will be an operation center monitoring things that go on during the evening and we will have the ability to redeploy resources and to communicate with our law enforcement partners that will be out there, "said O'Hara.

O'Hara plans to work New Year's Eve patrolling the city with other officers.

He says relationships with the community are helping.

So-called "boots-on-the-ground" organizations often help direct police to who's responsible for crime.

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