Cops Grab 92 Guns In 3 Months

Thomas MacMillan PhotoOn March 6, cops grabbed a 1950s-era CZ 52 Czech handgun. Two days later, they picked up a newer silver and black Kel Tec 9mm luger. Those and 90 other guns comprise a record-setting haul in recovered guns for the first three months of the year.

Police announced Tuesday that officers recovered 92 guns during January, February, and March of 2011. That’s 12 more than they picked up during the same period last year.

The uptick is the result of increased cooperation with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, along with coordination with surrounding towns, and an emphasis of traffic stops in “high predictability” areas, said Mayor John DeStefano.

He spoke Tuesday afternoon on the third floor of police headquarters at 1 Union Ave. On a table next to the podium lay 11 guns, including three shotguns, an enormous .44 magnum, and an antique, two-shot, black powder pistol.

Guns have created 46 non-fatal shooting victims so far this year, and nine homicides, DeStefano said. A high percentage of those guns are stolen, he said.

The department has been working closely with ATF to track where guns have been coming from, he said. Assistant Chief John Velleca said New Haven has four officers assigned to an ATF taskforce, the most in the state.

The mayor said the department has also been focusing on patrolling performing traffic stops in New Haven’s “crime corridor,” where such stops are likely to yield guns.

Chief Frank Limon, who had a Glock at his waist, said the department’s K-9 units (like Bitang) have also been helpful in getting guns.

Limon said most of the guns are from home or gun-store burglaries within Connecticut. In response to that discovery, the department has begun bi-weekly meetings with surrounding towns to share notes about gun thefts and shootings, Velleca said. For instance, police in a neighboring town might tell New Haven cops that a 9mm gun had been stolen, and New Haven cops might be able to link that to 9mm shell casings found at recent shootings in the city.

Velleca said that kind of cross-referencing had turned up some links, but said he couldn’t talk about that any further while the cases are under investigation.

After the press conference, Velleca presented an outline of what happens to guns that police get off the streets: First, the gun is fingerprinted and swabbed for DNA. Then it’s taken into storage and eventually tested at a state lab, where ballistic evidence is recorded. That evidence is cross-referenced with a database to see if the gun has been used in any crimes. If a match is found, the gun is stored as evidence. If not, it will eventually be destroyed.

DeStefano said handgun recovery will remain a top priority for the police department for the remainder of the year.

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posted by: AC JV for mayor on May 17, 2011  5:10pm

Chief Velleca for mayor, let’s let him show Destefano what a few good cops can actually do for this city in stead of using them for his political pawns, keep it up AC JV

posted by: james duarte on May 17, 2011  5:35pm

The guns on display should not have ammo in the clips, this is not a safe way to show them.

posted by: bunker on May 17, 2011  5:54pm

Why James are the guns going to spontaneously load themselves? The magazines (not clips) are not in the guns and the slides are locked open, they are safe.

posted by: luke on May 17, 2011  6:02pm

“Guns have created 46 non-fatal shooting victims so far this year, and nine homicides, DeStefano said. A high percentage of those guns are stolen, he said.”

I had no idea that technology had gone so far that inanimate objects are creating crimes these days. Be careful, your car might stop by the liquor store and go for a joy ride on you.

posted by: anon on May 17, 2011  6:08pm

More traffic stops please.  Why do we have so few traffic cops?

posted by: B.Money on May 17, 2011  6:17pm

those guns look like theyve been on the streets since 1922!

ive seen this episode before i dont like reruns.

posted by: Jay on May 17, 2011  6:21pm

To James Duarte:

Why is that not a safe way to show them?

posted by: 1988 on May 17, 2011  9:32pm

People it is all a front I watch the video and one of those are mine and I know that it is mine they are sum liars I surrenderd my firearm due to a domestic and it was for home protection I will be gettin it back in a few months so all this they seized stuff is half and half

posted by: Rich on May 17, 2011  10:13pm

The guns aren’t loaded! what you’re seeing is the feed ramps on the top of the magazines and the springs from the side view, but no live ammunition anywhere close!

posted by: click click on May 17, 2011  10:27pm

I agree with one post, the NHPD needs more traffic cops in cruisers on the 4-12 shift. Traffic stops catch traffic violators, wanted people, drugs, and guns. Traffic stops are the meat and potatos of police work.

posted by: Ex-NHPD on May 17, 2011  10:28pm

Everyday and every night, the men and women of the NHPD go out on their tour and address violent crime and criminals on the streets of New Haven.  The majority of the members of the NHPD are dedicated to their duties.

No one denies that there are members of the NHPD who dishonor and disgrace the NHPD by their actions.  Take any business/organization/department with 500+ employees and you will find among them those who do not perform.  Yet, many readers on this site want to vilify the entire NHPD for the sins of a few.

To all of those who are a part of the 92 seizures of firearms, and all those who hit the streets with the purpose of keeping New Haven safe, THANK YOU!

And to the Mayor—-I think that there were also 55 fingers pulling the triggers of those guns that created 46 non-fatal shooting victims and 9 homicides.  And, “handgun recovery will remain a top priority for the police department for the remainder of the year”—-Is that some type of new initiative that will end on December 31?  I seem to recall during my 25+ years at the NHPD that handgun recovery was always a top priority.  Keep up your brilliant, insightful statements.  I think Bud Light has a candidate for their next “Real Men of Genius” commercial.

posted by: Vigilius on May 17, 2011  11:21pm

“Limon said most of the guns are from home or gun-store burglaries within Connecticut.”


“First, the gun is fingerprinted and swabbed for DNA. Then it’s taken into storage and eventually tested at a state lab, where ballistic evidence is recorded. That evidence is cross-referenced with a database to see if the gun has been used in any crimes. If a match is found, the gun is stored as evidence. If not, it will eventually be destroyed.”

Does this mean that none of the stolen guns will be returned to their rightful owners?

posted by: RafMan on May 18, 2011  9:57am

In this time of fiscal difficulty, why destroy the guns. Why not auction them off to law abiding citizens?

posted by: bjfair on May 18, 2011  1:57pm

And of course they were all STOLEN. I’m surprised the owners don’t want them returned. Now there’s even more reason to justify profiling. Every hundredth car might have a STOLEN gun in it.

posted by: Beat cop on May 18, 2011  2:15pm

As long as you only possess a gun, its not a high priority prosecution at court. Per Gov Malloy, it is a non-violent/victimless crime, and if that is the only charge, you will not be going to prison, as the Gov has closed 2 prisons, and 2000 inmates are now doing time on the streets.
Yes, guns off the streets is good, but these kids just make bond, and immediately get another one. Why not, the drug game is dangerous, and as long as you don’t shoot it, you wont be penalized for having one!

posted by: John Bates Thayer on May 19, 2011  1:31am

The Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures without the issuance of a warrant signed by a judge who has been presented with the evidence would be my concern here.

posted by: bjfair on May 19, 2011  12:32pm

Rights do not apply in the hood. The only right you have is to shut the fu—up and comply.

posted by: Ex-NHPD on May 19, 2011  2:13pm

Apparently John Bates Thayer is unaware that there are seven exceptions where a search and seizure is legal when there is not a search and seizure warrant signed by a judge.

With that concern allayed, I wonder what else might be troubling him about having those firearms off the streets of New Haven.

posted by: Puleeze on May 20, 2011  9:49am

...  Barbara. Facts are facts. Why don’t you prove the guns aren’t stolen? No one is forcing these thugs to steal and carry guns. Deal with your back yard and don’t worry about the white man, or this so called “conspiracy” you speak of. Fact is, you do see drugs in suburbia, you don’t see murders like you do in the hoods of CT. You should be more worried about going to work every day, like the gentleman in West Haven, and getting gunned down for no reason. No respect for life because hey, I’ll just go out and pop out another. ...

posted by: bjfair on May 20, 2011  2:53pm

Puleeze, Facts are facts as you say and some of them are… Hamden officer selling guns in New Haven, Waterbury officer sellling guns in New Haven,2005 ATF report on gun trafficking, (2011)Woloctt couple traffickng guns,(2006)Canton family man,addict selling high powered guns onto the streets of Hartford,(2006)One of state’s largest gun dealer (Shelton)charged with selling guns to felons, (2006)90 guns seized from home of Farm Lane resident charged with dealing firearms without a license. firearms dealer from Brookfield charged with 33 counts of illegal gun transfer,New Haven officer shot with a gun a Milford resident sold to a felon…..and on and on and on. You might have read these instead of wasting time attempting to discredit me because as you said..Facts are facts. conspiracy? white man? Are these my words or yours?

posted by: John Bates Thayer on May 20, 2011  3:19pm

Guns are never a problem. People who choose to misuse guns are the problem. Since guns are incapable of autonomous action, while people are capable of autonomous action the good police chief should be concentrating on removing the latter and not the former.

posted by: Puleeze on May 20, 2011  3:49pm

Riddle me this Barbara, those account for how many of the hundreds, if not thousands of guns used in shootings and murders. Yes, these few instances might help to get guns into the wrong hands but whose fingers are pulling the trigger? THAT is another important aspect you choose to constantly ignore. Violence, violence, violence and I repeat, VIOLENCE! No respect for human life. And yes, you do turn everything into a race issue and spew about the conspiracy of the white man. Ive heard it right from your mouth. When you show hate, you live and teach the same. You never blame the biggest factor in New Haven’s crime: the perpetrator! Speak to that otherwise your rhetoric falls on deaf ears

posted by: bjfair on May 20, 2011  8:06pm

Paleeze, Sorry I didn’t list all the incidents of guns being illegally provided to others.There are far too many of them.I listed a few because you requested “proof” that they were not all being stolen.You can minimize my response. It’s still a fact that many of these guns are not stolen, they are trafficked for profit.If I thought you were really interested in a real conversation about violence and the conditions that fosters it I would engage you, yet I suspect my words would fall on deaf ears. When I speak to violence I don’t single out urban violence. I speak to it broadly because I hate it no matter where it rears its evil head. Fact: We live in a very violent society, we glorify it,we market it, we rejoice in it, we wrap the American flag in it and i hate it. We devalue the lives of millions and commit mass slaughter in the name of…? I am sickened by the violence in New Haven which is why I am reaching out to engage the youth instead of sitting around articulating how awful it is. Unless we address the conditions that foster gun violence (poverty, unrestrained rage, broken homes, hopelessness,gun availability,drug use, community disorder and neglect)we will continue to suffer.On race:When I say that African Americans are 12 times as likely and Latinos 6 times as likely as whites to be incarcerated in Conn it’s not spewing hate. It is speaking fact and yes I believe racism has much to do with it. When prisons are 60-70% people of color primarily for non violent drug offenses, and we know that whites use and sell drugs at the same rate (or higher)than people of color, yes I believe race plays a major role in that fact and guess what I didn’t do the research. To deny that racism exists does not make it go away. It just remains to be “the elephant in the room” that makes people uncomfortable. I didn’t create racism, I don’t support, I won’t denyit and I will speak to its existence whether or not its benefactors become uncomfortable.