DES MOINES, Iowa — The number of firearm-related incidents involving teens has been increasing over the last several years in the metro.

Over 600 guns are confiscated in recent years by the Des Moines Police Department. And the number of teenagers that are getting caught up in this crime is expanding.

“A number that stands out significantly is that we saw the number of guns possessed by kids 17-years-old and younger double between ’20 and ’21,” said Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department. “You talk to any street cop in the city of Des Moines and they are going to tell you that they are seeing more guns, more guns in the hands of young kids, and more gun-related violence.”

According to the CDC, there has been a 35% increase in firearm homicides nationally since the pandemic; and the 10 to 44 age group has seen the biggest increase in gun-related violence.

Des Moines has been trending the same way as the rest of the nation. Crime typically rises in most states when the weather becomes warmer. Parizek said that the department knows this time of year will be the busiest for all types of criminal activity.

“Historically throughout the Midwest when temperatures start to rise crimes start to rise,” said Parizek. “Shots fired and shootings go up also, we get more people moving around. Crime goes up in general.”

In Ames, there is not a correlation between rising temperatures and younger people involved in gun violence, as college students leaving the city is a large factor in that. But the Ames Police Department says that there is reason to be concerned about the homicides so far this year.

“We have had two homicides already to this point this year and we had four homicides last year,” said Commander Dan Walter with the Ames Police Department. “So that is concerning to us. Not all involve firearms, but that is a big increase in violent crime.”

Both police departments acknowledged that being a responsible gun owner plays a large role in keeping firearms out of the hands of teenagers.