By Len Ramirez

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Police say there’s been a spike in the number of illegal guns confiscated off the streets in San Jose.

“Gun seizures are absolutely up this year and are on a track to be a record high,” said Officer Steve Aponte.

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The department took 844 guns off the streets in 2020. This year, just through August, they’ve already seized 862 illegal firearms.

“Our officers, special operations and our detectives on average are pulling in one to three guns per week,” Aponte said.

Police say the increase is partly because of the proliferation of “ghost” guns, which are un-serialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online as kits and assembled at home.

But the biggest factor may be the department’s pro-active policing strategy, in which officers try to get ahead of crimes by identifying hot spots and then working with the community.

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Police say that often results in arresting armed felons and parolees who can’t legally possess firearms.

“Most of the seizures come because these prohibited persons are arrestable because of on view charges, by parole, by probation or outstanding warrants. And as part of a secondary search, firearms are discovered,” Aponte said.

Officers are finding practically every kind of gun out there: revolvers, semi-automatics and long guns. They’re often loaded and found with extra ammunition.

“One gun taken off the street means one less murder, one less robbery, one less shooting that we have to experience in our community,” Aponte said.

Once the illegal firearms are no longer needed as evidence in court cases, the guns are physically destroyed.

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