NYPD explains “Time to Crime” time period, when guns are purchased elsewhere and used here in illegally in crimes

NEW YORK — “Time to Crime” is the time between when a gun is purchased to when law enforcement recovers it.

Many people wonder why a city with some of the strictest gun laws in the country has such a problem with gun violence. A lot of it has to do with trafficked guns.

As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reveals, crooks are using legal weapons from other states illegally here at home.

One video shows members of Brooklyn’s notorious “Blixky” gang flash guns and stacks of money. Gang members with street names like “Sour,” “Sosa,” and “Chris Elite” repeatedly point at least eight handguns and a rifle at the camera in a show of force meant to intimidate.

But according to NYPD investigators, members of the gang reportedly do far more than intimidate.

“They’re a bad crew. People have been arrested in their crew for shootings, robberies. I think they have some homicides under their belt,” said Lt. Michael Whelan, commanding officer of the Joint Firearms Task Force.

So it will probably come as no surprise that many of the guns in the video are here in New York illegally. Several gang members were indicted last August on charges relating to interstate gun trafficking and using straw purchasers — someone who buys a gun for someone who can’t pass a background check — to buy guns in Georgia and bring them to the Big Apple. Gang members reportedly kept some of the guns for themselves and sold others to make a quick profit.

“You can buy a cheap 9mm for $300,” Whelan said. “They can turn around and sell it up here for anywhere from $800 to $2,000.”

According to a federal indictment, the gang also took special orders and used street lingo they thought would fool the cops. They, “… sometimes referred to firearms using the names of famous athletes, in some instances using jersey numbers as a reference to a caliber or model of firearm, such as using the name ‘Rondo,’ the last name of Rajon Rondo, an NBA player who has traditionally worn jersey number 9 to refer to a 9mm-calibre firearm.”

On Nov. 3, 2020, for example, there was an order for a “Rondo” with “free throws,” a 9mm firearm with ammunition.

All told, the gun runners were charged with getting straw purchasers to buy guns in small Georgia towns like Smyrna, Gainesville, Lilburn, and Lawrenceville.

They bought 87 guns and brought them to New York City, officials charged. So far, 31 have been recovered at crime scenes here.

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Gun Violence: The Search for Solutions


But what’s stunning is how quickly they are used to create violence, what the cops call “Time to Crime.”

“So what was the average time that a gun, from the time you purchase it to the time it came to New York?” Kramer asked.

“The shortest was a day, but that was intercepted down south, and the longest recovered at the beginning of the month was 549 days, so they’re still being recovered,” the task force’s Det. Michael Mechado said.

Remember, what he’s talking about is the time it takes for a gun purchased legally in the South to be brought here illegally and then confiscated by cops at a crime scene.

For example:

  • A .22-caliber Taurus bought in Lawrenceville, Georgia on Sept. 6, 2020, was used to fire three shots at Bronx cops on Feb. 21, 2021. Time elapsed was 5 months, 15 days
  • A .22-caliber Kal-Tec bought in Lilburn, Georgia on Oct. 12, 2020, was used to shoot a Bronx victim in the ankle on April 26 ,2020. Time elapsed was 6 months, 14 days
  • A 9mm bought in Smyrna on Oct. 26, 2020, was seized by cops on Jan. 6 6, 2021. Time elapsed was 2 months, 11 days

And while five months, six months, even two months may seem like a long time, police point out that these guns can be used repeatedly, even before they’re confiscated.

“That’s the unknown, right? You don’t know exactly what is going to happen when these guns hit the streets in New York. Obviously, they are being used daily in shootings and different robberies and stuff like that,” Whelan said.

Even more troubling, police say, is that with the combination of the “Iron Pipeline,” guns from southern states and Pennsylvania, and the “Plastic pipeline,” ghost guns, the so-called “Time to Crime” is getting shorter and shorter.

“They come up here within days,” Whelan said.

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