MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A growing number of illegal guns are off the street and the felons who use them are behind bars, all part of an effort known as Project Safe Neighborhoods.
The effort has federal, state and local law enforcement working together to stop violent crime. So far they've collected 364 guns.
One of their main missions is to silence the sounds of automatic weapons plaguing some of our communities, a sound many Minnesotans are now used to hearing in their neighborhoods.
ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Reed says the collaboration between local, state and federal partners is working, and they're getting illegal guns off the street.
"We are focused and we are resolute in our mission and we will not be deterred," Reed said. "From 2019 until the present the trend has increased in the number of switches that have been seized here recently we have seen a slight decrease in that so perhaps we are having impact but you must know we're going to continue our efforts to drive that trend line down."
In Minneapolis alone, officers working with state and federal partners have taken dozens of guns off the street in the past two weeks. Just last month, a Brooklyn Park man was indicted for illegally having a firearm and a switch that made it fire automatically.
"The mere possession of a switch not attached to a gun, not even a gun present, is a federal crime. We are intensely focused on identifying, disrupting and successfully prosecuting these individuals. And you may think you don't know who we are at this point, but I wouldn't bank on that," said Reed.
The evidence-based program focuses on those violent offenders in certain neighborhoods to silence the sound of automatic weapons.
"I cannot speak to the collaboration enough between Minneapolis Police Department, St. Paul Police Department, Ramsey County, Hennepin County, the BCA, our federal partners --HIS, DEA and FBI and U.S. Marshalls -- we are all focused on this issue," Reed said.
Reed says they need help from community to be successful. You can alert the ATF to crimes that involved firearms, violent crime, explosives and arson anonymously through the web or the Report-it mobile app, or by calling 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477).
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