AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin Police Department said it seized 117 guns in the downtown area this year.
All weapons were being used or carried illegally at the time they were seized by the police.
“These are handguns, rifles, there was also a shotgun,” said Commander Jeff Greenwalt, who oversees the downtown patrol area. “117 guns taken before the crime happened, you can imagine how many shots that would have been equivalent if they hadn’t hit them.”
The weapons seized fall into several categories. They have either been recklessly displayed, pointed at someone, worn by someone who has a court order forbidding them from having a firearm, or taken to an establishment that does not allow firearms.
“Right now what we’re doing is we’re just trying to make the city as safe as possible with the staff we have, and that means going out every day and doing the best we can with what we have. “said Greenwalt.
Earlier this year, APD launched a Violence Response Program in response to the increase in violent crime in city neighborhoods, including shootings in the Entertainment District.
“I think in general the United States is seeing an increase in violent crime. It started in early 2020 and has continued until today,” Greenwalt said.
Still, Greenwalt said he believes the city center will be a safe place for the thousands of people who visit it every night.
“2020 and 2021 have been a little tough, but we keep showing up for work and doing what we need to do because we became police officers for a reason. We want to help people, we want to make the community safe and we let’s believe it, ”said Greenwalt.
Currently, APD says it is able to staff the inner city district 100 percent, although this sometimes means other parts of the city are not fully staffed.
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