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Winnipeg Police are seeing an increase in people making their own firearms. 

In a span of just a few days between June 7 and 9 2018, police made four arrests connected to homemade or "improvised" weapons, something Const. Jay Murray says is a concern. 

"These are firearms that are made often," Murray said Saturday. "These are very dangerous weapons, not only for the person who is firing them because they're not safe to use, but very dangerous on the street. They can be easily concealed and can pose a threat to our officers." 

Murray says the two types of improvised weapons seized over the weekend were "zip guns" and a "bang stick." He credits police work in confiscating traditional firearms with causing an uptick in homemade weapons, but says they're no less concerning.  

"I think that speaks to how hard our officers have clamped down on getting (traditional) firearms of the street," he said. "It's a little harder to get them now, so they've resorted to making these firearms." 

Murray says they also made an arrest on June 8, 2018,  where the suspect allegedly had imitation firearms. Though police didn't have pictures of the weapons in question, Murray says it's concerning how real some imitation guns appear to be. 

"We often see replica firearms used to terrorize individuals and they pose a serious threat and issue for law enforcement in that we can't often tell if they're real or not until we physically handle them," Murray said. "I saw pictures of these two weapons that were seized and my first thought was that they were real."

"It's astounding how close those look to the real deal." 

Police Praise Bear Clan

Murray says in two of the incidents over the past few days, members of the Bear Clan were instrumental in helping police locate and track suspects. On June 8, Bear Clan members alerted police to the area of Pritchard Ave. and McKenzie St. when they overheard a group of people talking about a firearm and observed a female carrying a machete in per purse. That resulted in the replica weapons being seized and a 33-year-old man being arrested. 

Not long after, Bear Clan members alerted police to shots fired in the area of Andrews St. and Redwood Ave. This led to police arresting a 22-year-old suspect allegedly in possession of a "bang stick." 

"The Bear Clan has become an invaluable resource, not only to the city and the province but the police department as well," Murray said. "They've done a lot of good work and we're proud to work alongside them." 

Murray says in the incident involving the 22-year-old, Bear Clan helped police confirm that they also heard gunshots. 

"In this case we were notified of shots fired and officers were dispatched and located members of Bear Clan in the area who confirmed they heard this as well," he said. "A lot of shots fired calls turn out to be fireworks so it's nice to have that confirmation in the area."