Friday, December 01, 2000

Figures give clues on how guns come to be used in area crimes

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Juveniles were associated with 11 percent of the guns used in crimes and recovered by Cincinnati police during 1999 — compared with a national rate of 9 percent, a national study reported Thursday.

        More than 89 percent of such guns confiscated in the Cincinnati changed hands at least once before reaching the person who used them in a crime.

        Kentucky and Indiana were the top sources of crime guns used in Cincinnati that came from outside Ohio. Twenty-three percent of Cincinnati's traceable crime guns were first purchased in those neighboring states.

        These statistics come from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative Trace Analysis 1999 Report, released Thursday. The report complies and summarizes ATF's crime gun trace information with the help of police departments in 32 participating cities with populations of 250,0000 or more.

        “In compiling and reporting crime gun trace information, we aim to use precise information to strengthen our combined law enforcement efforts to arrest more armed traffickers, felons, and other gun criminals and better protect our nation's young people,” said Bradley A. Buckles, ATF director.

        During 1999, Cincinnati police asked the ATF to trace 714 confiscated guns used in committing crimes.

        Other statistics in the Cincinnati report show:

        • Handguns accounted for 84 percent of traced crime guns; long guns accounted for 16 percent.

        • Five percent of the handguns recovered in Cincinnati had obliterated serial numbers.

        • The median time-to-crime (time from retail sale to recovery in crime) for guns traced in Cincinnati, where it could be determined, was 5.4 years. The average of all cities was 5.7 years.

        “The Cincinnati police and ATF are committed to combating firearms violence and the illegal transfer of firearms in our community,” said Police Chief Thomas Streicher.

        “Our police department, with the assistance of ATF, has aggressively traced all crime guns recovered in our city during the past year.”


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