Gun violence jumps sharply in St. Paulby Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Police say reports of gun violence in the city are up sharply this year. Since January, calls to the police department reporting 'shots fired' are up 42 percent compared to the same period last year.
Some reports could be false alarms, but Police Chief Tom Smith acknowledges gun violence has increased. He said the city is working with community and religious leaders to keep young people away from guns.
"We're one of the safest cities of our size in the entire country. We want to stay that way. We will do that through partnerships," Smith said. "But we will also do it, for those that want to cause harm in our city through strong and tough enforcement."
Smith said his department will crack down on people who are selling and buying firearms illegally and the city is working closely with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
St. Paul police have taken nearly 350 guns off the street this year, a 67 percent increase over the same period in 2011, Smith said.
"For the people who are bringing the guns into the city of St. Paul, for the people that are indiscriminately shooting people and committing violent crimes in St. Paul, we're going to use every tool in our tool box," Smith said.
Heather Beckius, an Eichten Fellow at MPR News , contributed to this report.