A 'disturbing trend': LPD releases stolen firearm statistics

A 'disturbing trend': LPD releases stolen firearm statistics

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Lubbock Police reports a spike of firearms stolen from vehicles. A big percentage were taken from unlocked sets of wheels.

LPD Public Information Officer Tiffany Pelt said patrol officers started to see a large increase in guns stolen out of vehicles. According to LPD, just this last month 54 guns were taken from 38 vehicles that were burglarized.

"These guns end up in the hands of criminals," she said. "And what happens a lot of times is these criminals is they use it as a sense of currency. They will trade it. They will sell it for drugs and other illegal activities."

A few weeks ago, an LPD officer shot a drug trafficking suspect.

"He was in the process of pulling out a pistol that we found out later that was stolen from an unlocked truck back in September," she said.

According to LPD, doors left unlocked is a common problem. In 2016, 384 guns were stolen out of 305 vehicles, and about 100 of those didn't have the doors locked.

"Lubbock tends to have that small town feeling, but really it has some of the headaches of a big city," Pelt said. "Unfortunately, I think some people are complacent, and they don't really think it will happen to them."        

Pelt said these thefts are happening all over the city. LPD reports, in many cases it's not just one gun left in an unlocked vehicle.     

"We are seeing multiple guns left in vehicles," she said. "In the incident with the last officer-involved shooting in that report of that stolen gun multiple guns were stolen of out a console in the unlocked truck."

LPD recommends not to leave the gun in the vehicle. If you do, put in the trunk or install a gun safe. There is a slim chance of finding your firearm. LPD reports, of the 601 guns stolen in 2015 and 2016 only 82 were recovered.

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A disturbing trend is on the rise in Lubbock, and our officers are hoping the public can help curb the problem.

Over the last few years the Lubbock Police Department has noticed an increase in the number of firearms stolen out of vehicles.

Last month alone, 54 guns were stolen out of 38 vehicles that were burglarized.

Those 54 guns are now in the hands of criminals and are more than likely being used or traded for narcotics and other illegal activity.

Taking a look at last year’s data, 384 guns were stolen out of 305 vehicles in Lubbock.

Even more concerning, almost 100 of those firearms were stolen out of vehicles that were left unlocked.

While we are seeing a sharp increase in the number of stolen guns out of vehicles, we are not seeing a huge increase in the overall total of vehicle burglaries which leads us to believe gun owners are leaving their firearms in their vehicles more frequently. In many of these reports multiple guns were left in each vehicle.

With this issue coming to light, we would like to ask gun owners to protect their firearms. Owning a firearm is a great responsibility that includes securing the weapon at all times. Leaving a firearm unattended in a vehicle, especially if it is unlocked, is not a safe or secure place. If the gun is left in the vehicle for some reason, a few safety tips include locking the gun in the trunk or securing the gun in a gun safe installed in the vehicle.

However, a vehicle is never 100% secure.

While a gun owner may never intend to use their firearm to harm another person, when these weapons are stolen by criminals they can be used to commit other crimes or even be used against our officers who come in contact with criminals on a daily basis.

In fact, during last month’s officer involved shooting, the suspect was armed with a stolen handgun. That gun had been reported stolen out of an unlocked pickup truck back in September.

As our officers and investigators try to tackle the issue of property crimes including vehicle burglaries, we ask that the public help us in preventing gun thefts by keeping firearms secured at all times.

(PRESS RELEASE - LUBBOCK POLICE DEPT.)

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