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Suburban police seeing a troubling trend — illegal gun seizures up in many communities

Posted at 5:31 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 17:59:21-04

CLEVELAND — Police officers in suburban Northeast Ohio police departments said a troubling trend has emerged. Police departments are seeing an increase in the number of guns being confiscated.

“We don’t run across the people who are carrying them legally. Honestly, it’s the people who are causing problems with guns or carrying them illegally we have the most issues with,” said Westlake Police Captain Jerry Vogel.

So far, this year, Willoughby Hills police have confiscated 29 guns.

“Over the course of last year, we’ve seen well over a 100% increase of the amount of illegal guns we are seizing,” said Willoughby Hills Police Chief Matt Naegele.

Last year in Avon, police seized 10 guns; so far this year, 15 have been confiscated by police.

In Westlake in 2019, police seized 28 guns; so far in 2021, that number stands at 48.

For most departments, illegal guns are being discovered during traffic stops. “It’s fair to say 95% of guns we’re coming across are stemming from traffic stops,” said Naegele.

“Both calls for service and traffic stops have seen a great increase in the number of guns officers are running across,” said Vogel.

Vogel said when he started his career 20 years ago, finding a gun was rare.

“We’d be talking about it if we ran across a gun on a stop, we’d talk about it for a few weeks because it was a big deal then. Now, it’s weekly, almost daily,” he said.

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