Police chief: Reno sees sharp increase in gun violence

Reno is seeing a sharp rise in gun violence, according to Reno Police Chief Jason Soto.

Chief Soto says an increase in crime is expected with population growth. But, the numbers he's seeing just don't add up.

"It is double digit increases," said Soto. "[It's} an alarming increase... an increase that's outpacing growth."

According to a spokesperson for the Reno Police Department, Reno saw a 22 percent increase in robberies with a gun between 2016 and 2017. In that same period, police report a 16 percent increase in assaults involving a gun.

As gun violence rises, Chief Soto is allocating new resources to tackle the issue. He has assigned a detective to solely work with other law enforcement agencies to investigate shootings.

In contrast to the past, shootings where no one was injured are getting increased attention.

"We get a shots fired call and maybe we don't have a suspect on scene and we don't have a victim on scene, but we have evidence on scene such as [bullet] casings. We collect that evidence and use the ATF's technology to process some of that," said Soto.

The goal is to track down the person who opened fire and arrest them, in an effort to prevent a future shooting where someone is actually injured or killed.

"If we can get them before they do something serious and before someone gets hurt, that's all the better for the safety of the community," said Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks.

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