LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer provided an update on the number of illegal guns taken off the streets as a part of the Operation Safe Neighborhoods program on Dec. 28. Since the operation began, law enforcement officials have conducted 2,020 check-ins with felony offenders, leading to at least 254 illegal guns taken off the street before it could be used to commit a crime. During sweeps, officers have also recovered countless illegal drugs and ammunition.
“Every Michigander deserves to be safe in their neighborhood,” said Whitmer. “Today, I am proud to announce that Operation Safe Neighborhoods has taken 254 illegal guns off the street before it could be used to commit a future crime. Over the last four years, we have invested over $1 billion in public safety, and we will continue to make record investments, so Michiganders are safe at home, work or school, or running an errand.”
Operation Safe Neighborhoods is a statewide crack down on crime aimed at reducing gun violence by getting illegal guns off the street and out of the hands of people who cannot legally be in possession of a gun due to prior criminal history.
“We are committed to investing in public safety and safe communities for every Michigander,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “I am encouraged to see the progress happening around the state as we partner with local law enforcement to prevent gun violence and crime by getting guns off our streets. Governor Whitmer and I will continue working with every tool available to us to create communities where every person feels safe, knowing that the state of Michigan is invested in their future.”
Nearly one in three reported violent crimes in Michigan involve a firearm, and in the first half of 2022, over 450 Michiganders have lost their lives due to gun violence. The new initiative builds on Whitmer’s MI Safe Communities program that she launched last summer to invest in local police, get illegal guns off the street and fund expanded opportunities in jobs, education and the justice system.
About Operation Safe Neighborhoods
Recently, MDOC parole and probation agents teamed with local law enforcement across the state and have been conducting enhanced compliance checks on probationers and parolees who are legally prohibited from possessing a gun.
There are roughly 32,000 probationers and 8,500 parolees in the state, of which 20% have been convicted previously of a gun crime. These individuals are supervised by more than 1,000 MDOC parole and probation agents. The plan the department devised and implemented is aimed at the strategic targeting of high-risk individuals who have weapons possession in their criminal history that could be used to commit further crime.
Governor Whitmer’s $1 Billion Record Breaking Public Safety Investments
As a former prosecutor, public safety is a core issue for Whitmer. She has worked closely with local leaders, law enforcement officers and community organizations to ensure people feel safe in their neighborhoods. Since taking office, she has signed four balanced, bipartisan budgets, each making record investments to help communities fund local law enforcement departments and hire more first responders.
In the balanced, bipartisan budget Governor Whitmer signed in July, she made the largest investment in public safety since taking office: $670,315,000. This investment brings the total funding for first responders and public safety initiatives under the Whitmer-Gilchrist administration to $1,056,267,100.
Last summer, the governor proposed MI Safe Communities, a plan to invest $75 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan to reduce crime and keep families safe by getting illegal firearms of the street, tackle the criminal court backlog, expand resources available to law enforcement and address the root causes of crime by investing in jobs programs, counseling, and education.
Governor Whitmer’s Criminal Justice Investments
Whitmer has also worked across the aisle to enact historic criminal justice reform. She signed bipartisan “Clean Slate” legislation to help hundreds of thousands of Michiganders emerge from the criminal justice system with enhanced opportunities for jobs and housing, empowering them to pursue their full potential. She also launched task forces to address pretrial incarceration and juvenile justice and pursued reforms to improve relationships between law enforcement and the people they serve.
In July, Whitmer signed her fourth balanced, bipartisan budget that included funding for Jobs Court, a program that offers non-violent, low-level offenders gainful employment with local partnering small businesses.