NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The City of New Haven recognized Thursday as Gun Violence Awareness Day. At the New Haven Police Headquarters, Mayor Justin Elicker and members of the city’s police department shared what is being done to combat this violence and take guns off the streets.

“There is very clearly a pathway to address gun violence,” said Mayor Justin Elicker, of New Haven. “The reality is, we’re just not seeing the progress on the national level to address gun violence.”

On Thursday, they outlined their efforts on the local level.

“It was very difficult during COVID to do a lot of messaging, we didn’t have probation or parole working with us regularly, we weren’t able to put GPS monitoring on people who might be involved in retaliation,” explained Assistant Police Chief Karl Jacobson, of the New Haven Police Department. “There’s a lot of things we couldn’t do,” he added.

Assistant Police Chief Karl Jacobson, who’s been nominated to be the city’s permanent chief, said that is not the case anymore. They’ve been able to get out into the community and intervene early in potentially volatile situations.

“We want you safe, alive, and out of jail, we know your friend got shot,” said Jacobson. “And that helps.”

Here’s a look at where the numbers stand in New Haven this year, compared to last year:

Last year, there were 111 non-fatal shootings and 25 homicides. To date, this year, there have been 34 non-fatal shootings and four homicides.  

This year, 110 firearms have been seized compared to 73 at this point last year. 

“The reason so many guns are being seized right now is a combination of there being more proliferation of guns and the work that’s being done,” said Elicker.

19 of the firearms seized this year were ghost guns.

“The accessibility of ghost guns is off the charts,” said Jacobson. “We know people can get access to ghost guns, or ghost gun parts, through apps, mail order, so many ways that weren’t available before.”

The rise in ghost guns has ushered in an increase in tips as city residents want to see these weapons off their streets.

“I was in front of the police department with one of our lieutenants and somebody approached us with some anonymous information about a person selling ghost guns in the city,” said Jacobson.

Jacobson said that information is critically important to them as they work to identify where these guns are coming from and who has them.