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Connect the shots: Staying vigilant in times of rising gun violence

04 Dec 2017 10:28 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

By Tom Joyce with Vigilant Solutions, an Official IPSA Corporate Supporter

Whether it’s Pew or Gallup, there are reports of anywhere from 270 to 310 million guns in the U.S. And with the recent massacre in Las Vegas, the worst shooting in U.S. history, gun ownership and gun access have become main topics of conversation again.

When it comes to gun violence, Chicago bears the brunt of it. It seems that every Monday, the Windy City’s weekend violence stats make national news. Chicago’s raw numbers are the largest in the country for violence. But, where is the mention of the 17 other cities, that have a higher per capita homicide rate or the 10 other cities that have higher per capita non-fatal shootings?

CDC statistics

The violence in this U.S. is disturbing. Having worked as a police officer and ultimately as a homicide investigator from the 1980s until the 2000s, I was constantly dismayed at the senseless loss of life. New York City has done a remarkable job of not only keeping violence under control, but continuously driving the violent crime statistics to incredible lows. So, what can these other cities learn from NYPD? 

The Centers for Disease Control reports that seven children (under the age of 19) die every day from gun violence. With these statistics by the CDC, that means that in any given week, 49 children die from gun violence. In a month, the number increases to 196, and in a year, we lose an average of 2,352 children to gun violence.

Something, needs to be done to save innocent lives. And, it starts when you have the right strategies and tools at your disposal.

Increase vigilance

Cities need better strategies to support the men and women who attempt to prevent and ultimately investigate violent crimes. And for tools, technology is a necessary complement to smart people and processes. Staying vigilant is important when keeping communities safe.

At the recent International Association of Crime Analysts annual conference, keynote speaker NYPD Chief Dermot Shea spoke about precision policing, a concept which focuses on the small amount of people responsible for the disproportionately high amount of crime.

Chief Shea also spoke of targeting organized narcotics gangs and violent serial offenders, and how in those investigations, you shouldn’t leave any stone unturned. That includes the highly valuable practice of connecting gun crimes based on forensic evidence left behind in the form of ballistic evidence. He begged the attendees to not “kick shell casings down the sewer,” and to focus on connecting the shots.

About the Author

Tom is a retired member of the NYPD in the rank of Lieutenant Commander of Detectives. He commanded the NYPD Cold Case Squad upon his retirement and additionally held many other roles within the detective and organized crime bureaus. Prior to working with Vigilant Solutions, Tom was the Director of Law Enforcement Market Planning for LexisNexis Government Services. Tom often lectures on various subject matters relating to Homicide Investigations and has published numerous articles on criminal investigations. Tom is currently a member of the International Homicide Investigators Association’s Advisory Board.

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