Of the 28 shootings in Ottawa so far this year — five more than in all of 2011 — Ottawa police have laid charges related to eight of them.
Fifteen of this year's shootings are related to gang activity, police said. There are about 400 gang members on the streets in about 10 to 15 gangs. And of the 400 known gang members, police are dealing with about 25 to 30 of them actively.
The Ottawa police guns and gangs unit seized 96 firearms last year, 59 of them as a result of criminal activity.
44 firearms seized so far this year
So far this year the same unit has seized 44 firearms, 33 of them as a result of criminal activity.
Staff Sgt. Mark Patterson of the guns and gangs unit said they're dealing with more guns in Ottawa now than in the past.
He also said some of the shootings have been retaliatory in nature, though he stressed that there is no gang war taking place in Ottawa.
"Well … we know we've had retaliatory shootings," Patterson said. "Not a lot of our shootings are retaliatory, but we know that for a fact."
Guns now 'the weapon of choice'
Police laid 293 charges related to the 44 firearms the guns and gangs unit seized this year, including robbery, forcible confinement, weapons trafficking and careless use of a firearm.
Of the 44 firearms seized there were 16 shotguns, 14 rifles and 14 handguns.
Twenty-five of the 44 firearms have undergone forensic analysis so far, one of which has been linked to two 2012 shootings.
"The criminal element that we are dealing with has acquired, or is trying to acquire, more guns," Patterson said. "That seems to be the weapon of choice right now."
In response to the rising gun violence, Ottawa police assigned five more officers to the guns and gangs unit in late July.