I said that I would come back to “gun violence” in a previous post, but I first want to address the topic of “Weapons Offenses” in a larger context. The work in this category of crimes has serious impact on violent crime.
Crime prevention is one responsibility that every Law Enforcement agency accepts. Our ability to actually “prevent crime” is difficult at best, as there are many variables (some out of our control) that come into play. There also has to be a true “partnership” between the Police and the community in which they serve-or any such prevention efforts will face a continued uphill struggle.
The prevention of violent crime is even more difficult, and requires substantial work on both the front and back ends of the justice system to be effective. One of the most important pieces in the prevention of violent crime is
self-initiated patrol work centered on “weapons offenses.”
The Medford Police Department investigated 207 “Weapons Offenses” in 2013. We “cleared”(solved) over 93% of these cases as well. We are on pace to match those numbers in 2014. This is again the type of offense that is “self-initiated” by good police work. These cases consist of suspects that were:
-carrying a concealed weapon
-being a felon in possession of a weapon
-violating other weapons violations (restricted or prohibited weapons, prohibited areas, ete.)
This is the type of statistic where a higher number is better than a low one. These cases are out there, and we need to continue to look for them the best way we can. Removing these weapons from these suspects and from our community is step #1 in the crime prevention piece. This is true crime prevention as these suspects generally have committed some crime with them prior, or have a high likelihood that they will in the future. The self-initiated work on the part of our Officers has a huge impact on are overall violent crime rate.
One recent example of this work was the joint firearms/drug investigation named “Operation Rap It Up” that was led by JCSO. This was a great case-and again demonstrated the common link between drug dealers and weapons offenses. This type of investigation will have a positive impact on the safety of our region.
The “back end” work on this crime prevention piece comes at prosecution and sentencing. Holding these suspects accountable for their crimes (and their criminal potential with these weapons) is all part of this work. Federal prosecution is available for those suspects with the criminal history/criminal offense to support it. The penalties for certain Federal offenses is substantial.
I can’t say enough about the importance of self-initiated patrol work in the discovery/arrest of weapons law violators. This work has a big-time safety impact to our community. We are fortunate to live in a community that supports this work. It really is crime prevention at its finest!
Chief of Police