Cities across the country are reporting an alarming new trend: guns are being stolen out of cars at higher rates than in years past.
At least 180 cities reported an increase in gun thefts out of cars between 2019 and 2020, according to a newly released analysis from Everytown for Gun Safety, as reported by NBC News. The study used data from the FBI from 2011 to 2020 that included 271 various-sized cities in 38 states. What they found was higher instances of guns being taken out of vehicles.
In 2020 alone, an estimated 77,000 guns were reported stolen in the cities analyzed in the study –– more than half of those were reported to have been stolen from a car. Ten years ago, most of the stolen guns in the US were taken in burglaries, and less than 25% were taken from cars data shows.
Some of these stolen guns are turning up at crime scenes in Hampton, Virginia where the number of firearms stolen from cars rose from 88 in 2019 to 142 reported incidents in 2021.
"It is exceedingly rare that we investigate a gun crime, and the gun was possessed lawfully," Hampton Police Chief Mark Talbot told the outlet.
It's not exactly clear what's driving vehicle larceny and stolen guns, but some experts say the surge in gun sales during the 2020 phase of the pandemic might be a factor –– particularly in the early stages of quarantine when more people stayed at home, leaving their unattended cars vulnerable targets for theft.
Talbot said during this time, vehicle thefts surged while home burglaries decreased to the point where cars were ransacked in seconds, not minutes.
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