Hundreds of guns have been taken off the streets so far this year, but local authorities say they need everyone’s help keeping guns out of the wrong hands.
In new video obtained by the I-Team, you can see the stunning amount and variety of guns seized by North Charleston police. The North Charleston Police Chief, Eddie Driggers, says police seized 423 guns between January and July. For perspective, Summerville police collected 43 during the same time period. Between January 1 and August 1, the Charleston Police Department collected 231 firearms.
“These firearms were collected as seized, recovered, evidence, found, or confiscated (collected from Domestic Violence scenes, safe keeping, etc) from a variety of incident types,” as spokesman told the I-Team..
Chief Driggers says one out of four recovered guns in North Charleston is stolen. Very often they are stolen from unlocked cars.
“If you don’t want people rummaging through your car at night while you’re asleep, lock your doors,” the Chief said.
He said in one night earlier this month, eight guns were stolen in car break-ins around the city.
Chief Driggers attributes the increase to community help.
“You can say it’s snitching, but when we have information from the community we use that to make an arrest and bring these people to justice,” he explained.
In the first seven months of the year, 308 people have been arrested on weapons violations in the city. The year before police charged 394 people in 12 months
Even with the push to collect guns, the murder rate is climbing.
Between January and July of this year, police have investigated 24 homicides. During the same time period last year, 19 people were murdered.
The chief says in all but one of the 24 murders this year, the people knew each other. The only exception was the shooting on Park Gate Drive earlier this month. A gunman shot and killed a 71-year-old man. Police say three suspects were trying to steal his car.
Police are finding the guns through what the chief described as “some old policing and some new policing”.
On August 18, police collected four guns within one hour. Two were collected during a normal traffic stop. The officers on scene said the man in the driver’s seat was a felon, driving under suspension, and had meth in his car.
An hour later, officers responded to a complaint about people loitering.
Police busted a teenager with the two guns after he tried to run from police.
On Aug 15, a 16-year-old shot himself and needed medical attention. According to witnesses, the teen was running from a dog when the gun went off and hit his leg. Police charged him with unlawful carrying.
Driggers says police are distributed into zones. Police in each zone are responsible for knowing who’s involved in regular crime and who isn’t. Driggers says there isn’t a concentration on any one specific part of the city. He says guns are being seized from all over the community.