YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Several guns were taken off the streets last month by the Youngstown Police Neighborhood Response Unit (NRU).
Lieutenant Gerry Slattery oversees the NRU, which is made up of six officers and a sergeant. Last month alone, the team seized 31 weapons. Since May, they’ve taken 157 guns off the street.
“They’re putting up numbers that are historical here,” Slattery said. “We haven’t seen numbers like this ever in my time. I’ve been here over 25 years.”
The team was established last spring in an effort to tackle the surge in gun crimes in certain areas of the city.
“Stats have shown us that 20% of the criminals commit 75% of the crime,” said Chief Carl Davis.
Nearly two dozen of the guns were confiscated during saturation patrols teaming NRU officers with Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers.
“They go and they look for traffic violations, and once they get the traffic violation then one thing leads to another and they are getting guns and drugs off the street,” Slattery said.
Slattery said since the NRU was established, the team has made nearly 150 arrests. With all the seizures and arrests, the unknown numbers may well be the number of crimes that have been prevented and lives saved.
“It has to. We’ve had to prevent some of the crimes that happen,” Slattery said.
The unit has also helped improve relations with neighborhood residents.
“The community is on board because they want to live in a safe community. I think we all do,” Slattery said.
Slattery expects the NRU will continue operating and expand in the future.