Governor Whitmer’s office said this week that a new initiative to tackle the number of illegal guns off the streets has seen hundreds of guns being confiscated before they are used in crimes.
The updated numbers say that the Operation Safe Neighborhoods program has led to operation law enforcement officials conducting 1,767 check-ins with felony offenders, leading to 205 illegal guns.
Operation Safe Neighborhoods is a statewide crackdown on crime aimed at reducing gun violence by getting illegal guns off the street and out of the hands of people who cannot legally be in possession of a gun due to prior criminal history.
The state says nearly one in three reported violent crimes involves a firearm and that in the first half of 2022, more than 450 Michiganders lost their lives due to gun violence.
The new initiative builds on a larger program to invest in local police, get illegal guns off the street and fund expanded opportunities in jobs, education and the justice system.
There are roughly 32,000 probationers and 8,500 parolees in the state, of which 20 percent have been convicted previously of a gun crime.
“As governor, keeping families and communities safe is my top priority,” Whitmer said. “Today, I am proud to announce that Operation Safe Neighborhoods has taken 205 illegal guns off the street before they could be used in commission of a crime. Since I took office, I have worked across the aisle to invest over $1 billion in public safety. I will continue working with anyone to prevent gun violence, bring down crime and help Michiganders feel safe in their neighborhood.”
Recently, the Michigan Department of Corrections parole and probation agents teamed with local law enforcement across the state and have been conducting enhanced compliance checks on probationers and parolees who are legally prohibited from possessing a gun.
There are roughly 32,000 probationers and 8,500 parolees in the state, of which 20 percent have been convicted previously of a gun crime. These individuals are supervised by more than 1,000 MDOC parole and probation agents. The plan the department devised and implemented is aimed at the strategic targeting of high-risk individuals who have weapons possession in their criminal history that could be used to commit further crimes.
“Our mission as a department is creating a safer Michigan and our field agents play a crucial role in that effort,” MDOC Director Heidi Washington said. “By partnering with local law enforcement on these targeted actions, we are helping to take guns and drugs off our streets, which means less crime and fewer victims.”