An average of 280 firearms per year have been reported stolen in Omaha over the past three years, and some of those thefts may be driving a spike in gang violence in the city, reports the Omaha World-Herald. Gun violence in Omaha peaked last month when about 25 people were victims of shootings, including nine homicides. Police suspect many of the shootings are linked to gangs. State Sen. Ernie Chambers, a prominent African American figure in Nebraska, is calling on law enforcement to stem the sources of illegal guns.
Police have tried. In one gun initiative in 2013, federal and local authorities arrested 30 people and seized 62 firearms. Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said his department is working on a long-term investigation to nab more gang members who are handling guns and drugs. “Right now, what we are seeing in Omaha is a small number of hard-core gang members using guns in a very violent manner,” he said. “That is the issue we are attempting to address.”