LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – As gun violence makes headlines across the country, here at home Lansing police are taking a critical look at how the department is handling the rise in the trend, as well as how to prevent it.

Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee said his officers are seeing a gradual trend in gun violence in recent years but through coordination with other agencies and help from the public, the tide could be turning.

“The last two years that we have obviously seen a rise in violent crime, including gun violence, and it’s not just Lansing, it’s nationally. This is happening in every city of the country,” said Sosebee.

Sosebee said his officers are seeing firsthand the effects of the national rise in violent crime. In 2021, 6 News reported on 23 homicide deaths.

This number included a staggering amount of deadly shooting cases involving teen suspects.

“The recent trend is that they are getting into the younger hands, those folks, those individuals who don’t have any foresight of the consequence. Unfortunately, their easy button is to find a gun, get a gun and use a gun,” Soesbee said.

Sosebee said oftentimes, the guns are either stolen or not properly secured by the owner.

As for the weapons themselves, he said officers are recovering guns and ammo that pose a higher risk of injury for officers even when they are wearing body armor.

“It’s very scary to know that in some cases, we are outgunned but we have to rely on our training and our tactics to make sure we don’t put ourselves in a bad situation,” he said.

Once a gun has been recovered, it’s tagged and processed for prints by investigators. Michigan State Police then fires the weapon to match spent shell casings and bullets with those from the crime scene and enters the results into a national database.

If it was used in a crime, the gun will be held as evidence. Afterward, it is either destroyed or returned to the lawful owner.

According to department officials, the amount of guns seized or surrendered has been growing.

In 2019, 254 guns were collected, that amount increased to 382 in 2020. Last year, 582 guns were recovered by the department.

Sosebee said he believes this year, the city is turning a corner in gun violence, thanks to people speaking up.

“It sends a message to the violation, the people making the violations that the city of Lansing is not going to put up with this anymore,” he said.

Chief Sosebee said he also credits the city government’s support of violence intervention programs that work outside of the department. He said as these programs begin to tap into city funding, he expects further improvements.