Violent crime involving guns is on the rise in the City of Prince Albert.

According to Prince Albert Police Service statistics, officers have investigated 56 cases involving guns so far this year compared to 32 during the same period in 2019.

Speaking at a media conference Thursday morning, Chief Jon Bergen said the force has recently redeployed resources to deal with the situation.

“Our goal as a police service is to get ahead of crime through proactive policing rather than just responding to violence,” he said. “With that in mind, we have recently selected experienced members for a new select enforcement team that will focus on crime suppression including gang activity and proactive enforcement. This team will support our patrol shifts and be deployed at key times.”

The police service also says it has seized 107 illegal firearms so far this year compared to 89 in 2019.

For 2018, this number was 74 and 2017 saw 100 illegal guns seized.

Bergen said it is not exactly clear why the number of illegal guns on the street has increased over the past few years but it is likely gang-related.

“Gangs, we see that more often that somebody is carrying a firearm for some sort of self defence reason or other reason that they think it is necessary.”

Police say they are investigating six homicides in the city this year and have made arrests in four.

The homicide cases include those involving the deaths of two children and the death of a 28-year-old man in the city on Tuesday night.

Bergen said some crimes, such as robberies and break and enters, are on the decline when compared to last year.

(PHOTO: Prince Albert Police Chief Jon Bergen. File photo.)