Police Chief Dave Moore said increasing numbers of guns could have played a role in a recent spate of shots-fired incidents in the city.
Police responded to three shots-fired incidents on Sunday and a fourth incident the previous Monday, an unusual string of firearms incidents for Janesville.
Only one person was hit by a bullet in the four incidents.
But the incidents are concerning, Moore said, adding that officers have reported increasing numbers of firearms being found lately.
“Our officers encounter more guns out in the field than we used to, and there seem to be more weapons available, and I guess if you have more weapons available, you’re going to have more illegal activity with guns,” Moore said Monday.
Moore said officers found one person carrying a gun during a drug arrest last week, while a second weapon was found under a car seat.
“It’s just a reality for our officers out in the field that there are more firearms,” Moore said.
“They need to be very vigilant,” Moore said of police officers. “They know those weapons are out there.”
Moore said his department’s detectives and Street Crimes Unit were called in to handle the incidents early Sunday morning.
“We don’t wait until Monday morning. Matters are investigated immediately and with any resources required,” Moore said.
“Nobody’s getting away with any gun crimes recently,” Moore added. “In every incident, we’ve made arrests.”
Handguns figured in three of the four shots-fired incidents.
In the fourth incident, which stemmed from a clash between cruisers on the Milton Avenue circuit, a man who apparently felt threatened fired an AR-15 rifle from a car but said he shot into the air and not at anyone, according to a criminal complaint.
A shotgun was found in the same car. The occupants had used them recreationaly on Saturday, one of them told officers.
Moore said in some of the recent incidents, those firing the guns possessed them legally. But in several incidents over the past year, men were arrested for being felons in possession of firearms.
Moore has said in the past that police and jail officers often hear from criminals that the word on the street is not to bring their guns to Janesville because police will arrest them.
“I guess that’s not an absolute because we are getting some,” Moore said.
“Of course it’s concerning, but it’s also a reality of our communities today,” Moore said. “Open a newspaper. Look at the TV media, statewide or nationally. There are just more of these types of crime, and that’s a reality of America today. Janesville is different because we’re solving them all, but we’re not immune from that type of crime.”