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Cedar Rapids Police Take 96 Guns off the Streets this Year

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Police are cracking down on gun violence.

When Chief Wayne Jerman took the office at the end of last year, he made it his number one priority.

In the last 11 months, officers have taken 96 guns off the streets.

They're also counting occasions of shots fired. So far in 2013, police have recorded 52 instances of shots fired. By this same time last year, that number was up to 63.

This past weekend police said they had their hands full with gun cases. Neighbors near one of the scenes said police are fighting a losing battle. If criminals want to get guns, they'll get them.

Police, however, aren't letting up.

"It just so happens, no more than two hours ago a patrol sergeant encountered an 18-year-old individual over in the Westdale area of the city and during his field investigation, recovered another stolen handgun," Chief Jerman said.

The chief said many of the guns are seized by officers during traffic stops and during the execution of search warrants. The department is thrilled they're making progress. Despite the ongoing efforts and improved gun violence statistics, though, police know they have more work to do.

"We're just trying different things and right now we are holding our own, and I know the chief would really like us to make a big statement," said Sgt. Cristy Hamblin.

"We have seen a little reduction in the numbers of shootings or shots fired calls, but I would like to see a greater reduction. I was hoping for a greater reduction," Chief Jerman said.

Signs of gun violence in the city aren't hard to find.

"We had three in the city, all on Sunday," Chief Jerman said.

The chief said there were two shots fired incidents. Then, police also responded to a shooting. One man was shot in the leg in the 1700 block of Bever Avenue SE. No arrests have been made, but officers said they recovered two guns during that investigation.

"We want to get more of these people who are shooting weapons at people and doing these drive-bys. They've got to stop," Chief Jerman said.

The chief said he's still working to organize a gun buy-back. The holdup right now is getting enough grant money and donations to make it happen. Chief Jerman reiterates that he is not concerned about people using guns legally; he wants to put a stop to those who are using guns for crimes.

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