UTICA, N.Y. --- In 2020 Utica Police responded to 312 shots fired calls, 9 of those were fatal. Now in the New Year, the city is doing its best to fight back.
This past weekend, Utica Police found and removed 3 loaded illegal firearms from the streets. Utica Police Seargeant Michael Curley said every gun taken off the streets, is a win for the city.
"Not only in Utica but statewide, we've seen the recent spike in gun violence to just absorbent numbers that were not sustainable for a safe community. The Utica Police Department, in particular, has set out doing proactive work targeting top offenders," said Curley.
Over the past 30 days, Utica Police seized 13 illegal firearms. In terms of where these guns are coming from, Curley said some of them are purchased illegally here locally. He said others are brought in from the south where they have more relaxed gun laws.
"All of the guns that we've gotten so far were confiscated through what we call a field interviews of people who have committed various crimes. Or mostly from vehicle stops where we've gotten cause to get in the vehicle and conducted searches of the occupants of the vehicle and located it that way," said Curley.
But Curley said the police can't do this on their own. He's calling on the city to continue its programs that help younger kids stay away from gangs and away from guns.
"We need the community to give outlets to these kids that are on the fringe with gun violence. We need educational opportunities, we need social opportunities, housing opportunities, and other avenues in which to prevent people who are potentially talking about or joining a gang or a group, we need opportunities for them to live in a different life where gang violence isn't the attractive option for them," said Curley.