Dover Seizing Large Number of Guns This Year - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Seizing Large Number of Guns This Year

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DOVER, Del. -- The City of Dover Police Department says it has seized more than 100 firearms in investigations and traffic stops this year, a trend that officials say is an indicator that some initiatives are working but also that a high number of guns are being used in local crimes.

Chief Paul Bernat said many of the firearms have been used in crimes in places like Wilmington or Sussex County while other weapons are being used in Dover before later appearing those areas.

"The drug dealers are making sure that they're armed and protecting themselves," he said.

Most of the seized weapons are stored in an evidence locker in the police department headquarters after they are tested at a lab. Racks of rifles and shotguns and shelves full with boxes of pistols line the room's walls.

Police say seized firearms usually turn up at least three times a week. Many of them are collected by Dover's Vice and Organized Crime and Street Crimes unit.

Noting that most incidents involving gun violence--like the city's two homicides this year--are connected to the drug trade, Bernat said that the city remains relatively safe.

However, he said the increased number of firearms in the area means officers are at greater risk.

"We found that with the guns on the street there's the [increased] likelihood that we'll see a shootout," he said.

As of Friday, Dover had 138 shots fired complaints. More than 35 people have been shot in the city this year.

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