Updated by Shelley Russell, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
Waterloo police say they took 41 violent weapons off the streets in 2012.
The weapons were seized by the Waterloo Police Violent Crime Apprehension Team (VCAT), which has been operating through a grant from the Department of Justice.
-29 weapons seized were handguns. -Police say 18 firearms they recovered were reported stolen. -Eight guns were used in shootings.
Sergeant Matt McGeough said the VCAT unit surpassed its goal which was to collect 25 weapons last year. Still, he and other residents in Waterloo, agree there is more work that needs to be done.
"It's a constant problem. It'll probably never be completed," McGeough said of gun violence in Waterloo.
McGeough said 20 guns collected in 2012 were caught in the hands of gang members.
"Once a couple of these people have been taken out of play, what we see a lot of times is the gang will go dormant," McGeough said.
McGeough said more than half the guns were confiscated with the help of confidential informants, and many of them stolen.
"Each one of these weapons we get off the street is a good thing," he said.
Anthony Tisdale has lived in Waterloo all of his life. He said he was not surprised to hear more than 40 guns were confiscated by police last year.
"I would say it's a community effort with our law enforcement, too," he said. "It goes hand in hand."
Tisdale said getting rid of the weapon is only solving half the problem, but it doesn't address the mental health of individuals.
Steve Perkins, Pastor at Payne AME Church in Waterloo, agreed.
"I think it solves part of the problem. The other part of the problem is within a person...what they've gone through, what they're going through at that point, how they were raised. I think all of those are factors in why people do what they do," he said.
Perkins said he welcomes any assistance his church could provide in making Waterloo safer. He suggested a gun drop-off program that could incentives for folks who would drop off weapons. Such a partnership is not a reality, but Perkins said he is willing to help in whatever way the Police Department deems useful.
You can find more information on the 2012 statistics here.
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