CMPD combating gun violence with new initiative

The focus is now turning to violent crimes involving guns in your neighborhood. The new CMPD initiative puts a spotlight on who is pulling the trigger.

The Police Department announced a new initiative Wednesday to attack gun violence. It's assigning a group of officers, detectives and civilian employees to focus solely on violent gun crime.

This year alone, more than 1,200 guns have been seized. That's up 10 percent from this time last year.  CMPD has seen a 16 percent increase in gun violence. Most of the guns being used are obtained illegally, stolen from cars.

"We are attacking it at all angles because we recognize the seriousness of it, and we are concerned at the age of many of the offenders," said CMPD Major Allan Rutledge.

The family of a gun violence victim says, the focus also needs to be on giving youth in our area hope.

"Young people are looking for hope and someone to let them know you're okay," said Michael Smith, who is the father of Sam Stitt. "I'm a firm believer that if we can go back into these communities and extend a hand and hope, that will curb the violent trend in this city as well."

Stitt was gunned down inside an apartment off Ventura Way Drive last Thursday.  No arrests have been made yet.

"I think it's way past due to do something like this," Smith said.  "There's something that should've been done years ago—but if something is being done now, that's great."

A candlelight vigil for Stitt will be held Friday at Camp Green Park at 8 p.m.

This Sunday, there's a "Stop the violence" ride and solidarity day at Freedom Park from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.