Guns kept in cars, especially visible and unlocked, are an invitation to thieves. Law enforcement officials in St. Louis recently reported that their tally of guns stolen from cars was up to 100. Sutherland, UK reports the theft of a shotgun and 2 rifles, while Carlise, England has reported recent thefts of an air soft rifle and Glasgow has a similar report. A gun and wallet were stolen from a car during a middle school basketball game in Connecticut. Atlanta, Ga reported just last week that 7 cars were broken into and a gun was the thief’s booty from one of them.
These numbers aren’t an international epidemic, but should serve as a reminder to gun owners around the world to keep guns and other valuables secured. While it wasn’t legal, one anonymous guy taught a careless gun owner the importance of securing his weapon.
Beyond locking your car and keeping any valuables out of sight, what should you keep an eye out for? Exactly how are thieves targeting cars for theft?
Slide Right In
Thieves have perfected a specific technique that allows them to easily steal valuables from the interior of a car while it is being fueled at a gas station. These thieves are called “sliders.” While the car’s owner is busy pumping gas, the slider pulls up along the opposite side of the vehicle and stealthily slides out of his car, quietly opens the door of the victim’s vehicle, reaches in and grabs what he can.
Women with concealed carry permits sometimes keep their firearms in their purses. When this is the case, the thief not only gets a wallet, but also a weapon. It’s important to keep car doors locked and to maintain personal control of valuables, especially when there is a gun involved. The financial risk caused by a stolen credit card can be headed off with a single phone call. The risk caused by a stolen weapon is impossible to stop or even measure.
Smash and Grab
The traditional “smash and grab” is certainly less covert than the slider technique, but it’s no less effective. The police department in Elko, Nevada recently reported a surge in car break-ins, including a number of smash and grabs. Authorities in Elko advised locals that it often takes little or no effort on the part of the thief to get away with valuables from inside a car.
Many times cars are left unlocked or with one or more window rolled down. Any valuable within sight—even spare change sitting in a cup holder—can become a lure for thieves, who are often looking for drug money. If there’s a gun in the glove compartment, that can be the icing on the cake for the criminal.
Prevent the Problem
“If you’re going to have a gun in your vehicle, make sure the vehicle and the gun is secured,” Elko police lieutenant Ty Trouten told area residents. In addition, know the serial numbers of your firearms. That will help law enforcement find your weapon in the event that it is stolen.
In states that allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, there are often exceptions where weapons are not allowed. For this reason, permit holders need to have a secure way to stow their guns in their vehicles. There are a variety of vehicle gun safes on the market, and concealed carry permit holders should have one in each of the vehicles they drive.
Special attention should also be given to purses, coats, briefcases and anything else in which a gun might be carried in. If that item is not always in direct control of the gun owner, it poses a significant risk for theft. Buy one that has a built-in lock or keep a lock handy.
Even before the surge in gun purchases and carry permits last year, gun theft and loss was a big problem. More than 190,000 guns were reported stolen or lost in 2012, and Texas, Georgia, Florida, California and North Carolina reported the largest numbers of lost or stolen firearms, according to an ATF report.
Don’t let your gun be one of the 190,000 stolen each year – keep it secure and safe from the hands of thieves…and little ones who might be in your car or home!
An avid writer and blogger for HR Owen, a luxury car dealership in England, Carrie knows the real-life problem of vehicles being targeted for theft. Having a nearly 2 year old nephew, Carrie also understand the importance of securing your guns and other items that little ones shouldn’t have access to.