Police Seize More Than 500 Guns Amid 'Uptick In Violence' In Detroit

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By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) Detroit police are dealing with a record number of gun arrests, amid a spike in violent crime in the city.

Police Chief James Craig says more than 500 illegal guns were removed from the streets over the course of four weeks in June and July in Detroit. 

"We have not seen the number of handguns that we're seeing now," Craig told reporters at a news conference Monday. 

"We want the violence to stop, and they're going out and they're making illegal gun arrests, every day," the chief said. "And imagine going into that situation."

According Craig, Detroit police officers seized 537 illegally possessed firearms from June 22 to July 19. From June 22-July 26, the DPD arrested 473 people for carrying concealed weapons, with 128 of those arrests occurring last week.

“It’s no secret that Detroit like so many other cities has seen an uptick in violence,” said Craig, who earlier cited increased anxiety and stay-home orders due to the coronavirus, as well as prisoners being released early because of pandemic as possible factors. 

But what about when it's police who are doing the shooting? 

At the same news conference, Craig took reporter questions about three police shootings in three weeks in Detroit; two of them fatal. 

Craig defended police who were involved, saying in each case the suspect was armed and a danger to his officers. 

"It's a very difficult place to be, and I would ask your viewers, your listeners...Put yourself in that officer's shoes just for one second, and try to understand," the chief said. "I've been in those situations throughout my career where I've had to make a decision: Do I shoot, or do I not shoot? And you don't have much time to make that decision. The last thing an officer wants to do is to use fatal force."