Officials with Alberta RCMP as well as Edmonton police say there’s no doubt officers are coming across more guns on Alberta streets.
“It’s not a huge spike, but it is up. There’s no question about it,” said RCMP Insp. Gibson Glavin.
“Violent crime in general is down, but there’s no question that instances involving firearms is up in the province of Alberta and it’s not just Alberta either.”
In 2015, the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) seized 126 firearms during organized crime and gang enforcement initiatives. Gun seizures included 21 handguns, 81 long rifles and 24 shotguns.
Sgt. Maurice Brodeur with the Edmonton Police Association says gun crime levels are certainly up and there are more on the streets.
Brodeur has worked in the law enforcement field for 30 years and says he’s seen a proliferation of firearms.
He said Edmonton police now deal with gun incidents on a daily basis.
Edmonton Police Service spokesperson Shawna Grimes agrees officers are encountering more guns while on shift.
“I don’t know if it’s accessibility…Our gun laws haven’t changed that much, but we are seeing a lot more of them,” she said.
“They’re a lot more common for us to be pulling over vehicles or doing search warrants and finding them in houses.”
As of Dec. 30, 2015, 26 of Edmonton’s homicides involved some sort of weapon. Last year, a firearm was used in 12 homicides – or almost half the homicides recorded.
“It’s about average for previous years in relation to the homicides, but I know from our front-line patrol guys, they’re seeing a lot more guns coming off the streets, they’re dealing with them much more frequently.”
More to come…