DENVER (KDVR) — The number of illegal firearms recovered from the streets of Denver has significantly increased. It is one of the reasons Denver police believe the number of murders this year could break all-time records.

Denver’s police chief said there is a direct correlation between the number of illegal firearms and violent crime. Murders in particular are happening at an alarming pace. One area in east Denver has experienced a surge in homicides.

Five murders have taken place in the area around Colfax Avenue between Quebec and Yosemite streets. The area has one of the “highest concentration of murders” in the city, according to the FOX31 Data Desk.

The number of illegal firearms taken off the streets of Denver this year is 1,225, according to the Denver Police Department. That’s an 11% increase compared to the same timeframe last year.

“Illegal firearms is our biggest problem in our city,” Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said.

Those firearms, Pazen said, could contribute to a record-breaking number of murders this year. There have been 53 so far, but with another murder Thursday, that’s already an old statistic.

In neighboring Aurora, there have been 90 illegal firearms cases and 28 homicides this year. Across the state, Colorado Ceasefire said one big problem is that firearms are stolen too easily. 

“I do believe there needs to be more public education about the importance of storage if you are a gun owner,” Colorado Ceasefire Legislative Action President Eileen McCarron said.

Kim Vetter lives near a violent hotspot in Denver and said there’s no easy solution.

“People say, oh, like it’s one answer, like getting rid of illegal guns. Great let’s do that, but that’s not going to fix the underlying problems,” Vetter said.

People on this stretch of Colfax hope crime rates drop sooner than later.