The Phoenix Police Department, in conjunction with county, and federal law enforcement agencies have announced a pilot-program to curb gun violence in Phoenix. “Operation Gun Crime Crackdown” is a multi-agency, multi-faceted focused enforcement aimed at reducing the number of violent gun crimes which have been plaguing our city.
Homicides with firearms are up 45% this year over the same time last year. Aggravated assaults with firearms are up 23% over the same time last year. The rise in gun crimes is not unique to Phoenix, it is a crisis happening across our nation.
“Guns are getting into the wrong hands leaving children without parents, families devastated and communities living in fear. We must do something to protect our children, our community’s officers, from gun violence,” said Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams.
The program is designed to focus on gun related crimes and allow for immediate follow-up in the hopes of identifying and arresting suspects. Ten Phoenix detectives will be assigned to the precincts with the highest gun related crimes. This will facilitate seamless communication with Neighborhood Enforcement Teams and patrol officers.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has agreed to embed agents with Phoenix’s Gun Crime Intelligence Unit which will allow quick access to the National Intelligence Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) to assist in capturing and comparing ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms.
Supervisors from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will be geographically assigned to coordinate directly with police precinct personnel. County Attorney Rachel Mitchell will also provide MCAO liaisons to work with Phoenix police to review gun cases that have been turned down for charges or sent back to detectives for additional investigation. The office will also focus efforts to ensure appropriate release conditions for those arrested.
Some gun crime cases are more appropriately prosecuted under federal laws. Both the ATF and the U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Gary Restaino have committed to review cases and assist with possible federal charges when appropriate.
Law enforcement action is only successful with public support. Too many communities have become immune to the sound of gunfire in their neighborhoods. Those behind “Operation Gun Crime Crackdown” are urging people to call 911 if they hear gunfire in their area.
“Operation Gun Crime Crackdown” will launch July 5, 2022.