Detroit police confiscate 1,500 guns in 2015; try to stem violent tide

On Thursday Detroit police were called to at least three shootings.

The department is working to stop gun violence - and they are doing it by trying to take guns off the street.

The gun is something many live and die by in Detroit and if the violence over the weekend including the mass shooting on Dexter is any indication - it a problem police do not have a handle on - but not for lack of effort.

"These are assorted long guns. assault rifles, some are automatic some are semi-automatic," said Steve Dolunt, assistant police chief.  "We're doing as much as we can with what we have. This year alone we've taken close to 1,500 guns just this year." 

Dolunt says Detroit's finest risk life and limb to confiscate handguns, shotguns and machine pistols to prevent that violent outbursts that left more than 20 wounded and two dead this weekend.

"So we're doing a good job," he said. "We're averaging about eight guns a night. But people keep bringing guns and they are non-law abiding citizens for the most part, that are shooting everybody."

Overall violent crimes are down from last year

- Carjackings down 11 percent

- Armed robbery down 16 percent

- Sexual assaults  down  23 percent

 But homicides are up by 9 percent and non fatal shootings are nearly stagnant.

"All these people are putting things out for a poor guy's memorial," Dolunt said. "You want to do something for that person? Put the gun down."

Police say the answer  to cracking down on gun violence is not tougher gun laws.

"You can have all the gun control you want," Dolunt said. "But if I want a gun, I'll get it."

Breaking the code of silence - getting people to talk with police so they can lock up criminals,  and deter others, is the key.

"I understand they feel afraid, I get that," Dolunt said. "If my kid had been shot, or my son, my brother, my mother.  You know what that's a personal attack on me."

It's something Tia Perry knows all too well. Her brother was murdered eight years ago and her god brother was gunned down last month.

She says neither killer has been caught - partly because of a lack of cooperation with police.

FOX 2: "Why won't people help out police, why won't people talk to police?"

"Because they feel like they're against them,  they feel like they don't care," Perry said.

Right or wrong, perception is reality. And the code of silence may speak volumes about Detroit's gun violence.

In the meantime police continue to take more and more weapons of the street.

US Attorney Barbara McQuade plans to work with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office to charge violent criminals who use guns in federal crimes. 

The police department continues to try to build trust in neighborhoods where there is little of it.
Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories