LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The city of Louisville has reached a dubious milestone. The number of guns seized off the streets has never been higher.
Some of the weapons being found are only recently making an appearance. They are more expensive, precise and lethal, like the kind that can easily penetrate a bullet-resistant vest.
WAVE 3 News has spent time embedded with LMPD's 9th Mobile Division as it scours the streets.
The Commander of the 9th Mobile Division, Major Billy Hibbs, listed some the types of guns detectives are increasingly finding in the wrong hands. They include AR-15's, AK-47's, Glocks, Rugers, Sig Sauers, Springfields and Smith & Wessons.
"It makes things dangerous for everyone," Hibbs said.
Since the division's inception in September, 2015, they've seized more than 1,200 guns.
Of those, 44% were taken from convicted felons. Nearly 200 others were stolen.
Hibbs says criminals now seem to have acquired a finer taste when it comes to their new weapons of choice. Something that didn't used to be the case just two years ago.
"We saw a lot of weapons that were inexpensive. They were cheap, they weren't in the best condition," Hibbs said.
This year though things are different.
"We're seeing really high quality, strong, effective weapons," he explained. "It's Seiko compared to Rolex. Which one you want to go with?"
The division is not just seeing higher priced weapons. They are also seeing some that were never on the radar before.
He listed a shotgun with a collapsible stock which makes it easier to hide, and a Mac 11 sub-machine gun. He said they've also seized weapons with bump stocks.
Major Hibbs is also concerned about the appearance of several of what he described as the "cop-killer" guns, also known as the FN Herstal Five-Seven pistol.
It is a small weapon that's easily concealed, and can use bullets that pierce right through a vest.
"As we enter a situation, we understand what possibly could be there," Hibbs said.
For days we rode along with the Mobile 9th. We learned how much they use the element of surprise.
From surveillance by hunkering down in different parts of town, to searching in places one might not expect.
"That's an untold amount of bullets that are not being casted out in your community," Hibbs said.
There is one other thing Hibbs has noticed - the good people who don't want to live in fear, starting to step up.
"They may not show it while we're involved in something, but we're getting the thumbs up. We're getting the thank you's that are, you know, low tone. And we're also getting a lot of information which is a beautiful thing," Hibbs told us
Hibbs says, many of these expensive weapons are being stolen right out of people's cars.
Once they hit the streets, guns go for just $50 to $250 dollars on average.