- Associated Press - Monday, November 28, 2016

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Tippecanoe County has seen an increase of felonies involving firearms this year with at least 59 people charged in crimes such as battery with a firearm or armed robbery.

Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 23, 17 of those charged were already considered “serious violent felons” based on their criminal histories, prohibiting them carrying or owning firearms, the Lafayette Journal & Courier (https://on.jconline.com/2goQNik ) reported.

In 2014 and 2015 combined, 61 people were charged with felonies involving firearms, and 13 of them were serious violent felons.

“Any time you have more guns in the hands of less responsible people, the likelihood of tragedy is going to go up,” Lafayette police Chief Patrick Flannelly said earlier this month.

Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington called the increase “an alarming trend.”

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski has previously said gun violence and the city’s drug crisis are intertwined.

“We cannot arrest our way out of this problem,” he said. “We have to look at addiction services, mental health services - everything, in my opinion.”

He said risks remain in the community, and every day more police come into contact with potentially armed and dangerous individuals.

“This only heightens the safety issue of the police who are coming in contact with these individuals and the public,” he said.

The newspaper previously reported that the Lafayette Police Department has seen an increase in drug and weapon violations so far this year.

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Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com

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