Houston, TX—Police in Houston are warning gun owners that gun thefts are on the rise. Instead of breaking into homes, though, the thieves are breaking into vehicles.
Sergeant Tracy Hicks from the Houston Police Department’s Auto Theft Crimes Task Force said more than 2,000 guns have been stolen from cars in the city in the last 10 months. This number represents a 21 percent increase since last year.
Hicks didn’t give any details as to what percentage of the guns are ever recovered and returned to their owners, but we’d be willing to bet it’s a very small fraction.
What Are Criminals Looking For?
Sergeant Hicks went on, “It’s not a good guy stealing your gun. It’s a bad guy using it for who knows what,” said Sgt. Hicks. “What is my gun being used for now? That’s scary.”
He mentioned specifically that having the sticker or logo of your favorite gun brand or organization is a sure sign to gun thieves that your car is more likely to have a gun than any other in the parking lot. Hicks said, “Having your little sticker here on the back lets you know that you’re gun-friendly and somewhere in this truck there’s going to be a gun stored in there.”
Criminals aren’t that bright, in general, but in Houston, they’ve started employing one more tactic that gun owners might not think of. Hicks said that criminals are waiting outside the local shooting ranges and following those vehicles when they leave. If you stop for gas or a soda on your way home, they break into your car and get multiple guns at one time. “We’ve actually gotten numerous guns in one car break-in,” he told reporters. Maybe these thugs follow you the whole way home, and six months later you’re chosen ‘at random’ for a break-in. You get the picture.
Know Better, Do Better
This isn’t news to most gun owners, but the rising numbers near Houston are worth noting. We like to think that if you’re not in an urban area with a high crime rate, this isn’t likely to affect you. Still, if you happen to be going into the big city for Christmas shopping, make sure your guns are well secured.
Of course, Sergeant Hicks recommended that folks just leave their guns at home. We think it’s interesting he didn’t say anything like, “Don’t worry, the cops will protect your valuables and your life. That’s what we’re here for.”
No, there are apparently about 2000 gun owners in Houston who can tell you that the cops can be everywhere. All the more reason to be aware of the need to protect your own life and property.
We would suggest that you either conceal carry where you legally can. This way you’re not leaving your guns in your vehicle while in a place where there are criminals around. After all, if they’ll break into your truck, do you really want to be disarmed around them?
Another option is to put a cheap ‘car gun safe’ on your Christmas list this year. Especially if you are in these urban centers more often than you like.