Thirty four less guns on city streets is what officer Morshaydrick Racy calls a big victory for Jonesboro's police department. The department held its first gun buy back drive in September of 2017, which offered residents vouchers in exchange for their firearms. Corporal Racy says plans are in the works for Jonesboro police to hold the drive again this year.
"There has been an increase in gun violence in our city," states Racy. "As a police department, we want the citizens of Jonesboro to know that we're always attempting to be proactive when it comes to this type of stuff."
The initiative comes at a time where concern over crime is growing in Northeast Arkansas. According to the Center for American Progress, Arkansas had the 10th worst gun murder rate in the nation, as of 2010. Twenty-five percent over the national average.
The biggest battle for Jonesboro police is cracking down on stolen gun activity, in what Officer David McDaniel calls crimes of opportunity. Requiring licensed gun owners to properly stow firearms out of plain sight, and out of reach for juveniles, and other target populations.
"We see a lot of vehicles being broken into, and the guns being stolen from them. From owners trying to do the right thing, but maybe could've gone about it differently," says McDaniel.
"I've always suggested maybe a lock box in the trunk of the vehicle. It's a lot more difficult to get into."
J-P-D is planning to make the 2018 gun take back program, similar to that of Memphis. Arkansas ranked third in the nation for aggravated assaults with a deadly weapon in 2010. Statistics also indicate that more than 5,000 people in the state were killed by gunfire between 2001 and 2010.