ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins provided an end-of-year update on gun violence in Albany that occurred in 2021.
They said despite a challenging year with COVID-19 and staffing shortages, the department managed to get a large number of illegal firearms off the streets, as gun violence remains a major concern among city residents.
“The trauma caused by this gun violence impacts our residents at deep levels. It impacts those who are directly involved as victims, and as family members of victims,” said Sheehan, “it impacts the families of those who choose to use a gun.”
It’s city residents, fed up with the violence, to whom Hawkins gives much of the credit.
“Many of these weapons you see here were confiscated because we received information from someone in the community about these weapons,” he explained.
Hawkins said overall this year, the department has seized 140 handguns and 51 long arm rifles. He believes lives are saved when these weapons are removed from the streets.
“16 of the 17 homicides that we’ve had this year were committed with firearms. Nationwide, we’re seeing this increase in firearms that are being used in violent crimes compared to previous years,” Hawkins told reporters.
13 of the 17 homicides this year have been clear and closed. Hawkins added that confirmed shots fired incidents are down 18 percent this year from last.
Additionally, shooting incidents are down 34 percent, and the number of shooting victims has gone down 27 percent.
“These are all clear and unmistakable indicators that progress in addressing gun violence in this community is occurring,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins made clear there is still a lot of work to be done to handle gun violence in the city, but thanked the men and women of his department for their bravery so far in this endeavor.
You can watch the full update in the player below.