BEDFORD, Ohio — Police in one Cleveland suburb are dealing with a troubling trend. They’re on target to confiscate more illegal guns this year than in recent history.
“Most of the arrests we’ve made are weapons under disability, which means the person is already a convicted felon and they should not own a gun in the first place. It’s a felony for them to be in possession of a gun,” said Bedford Police Deputy Chief Rick Suts.
From August 1, 2019 until December 15, 2019, Bedford Police Officers confiscated 11 guns. In the same five-month period this year, that number nearly tripled to 29.
The Bedford Police Narcotics unit seized 52 guns in all of 2019. So far this year, Bedford Police statistics show 95 guns were taken by police.
Suts blames COVID-19. The virus, which has impacted daily life, has now reached the criminal justice system.
“The criminals are seeing the problems with the courts. The courts are backlogged, the jails are letting people go because of COVID, they’re afraid to keep too many people in jail at one time. I don’t think there is fear of consequences anymore,” Suts explained.
Kalhid Samad started the organization Peace in the Hood in the early 1990s. He said there are similar problems today with drugs, gangs and guns.
“More and more guns are coming in from other places. Too many young people, 13, 14-year-olds are running around with guns and they will not hesitate to use them,” said Samad.
Samad is both surprised and concerned about the spike in crime. “If someone would have said this would be going on a few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought it,” he explained.
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