Report shows gun theft from cars rising in Chattanooga

Chattanooga ranks as the second-highest city in America for gun theft from cars; Memphis ranks first

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Recent analysis from a national non-profit shows that Chattanooga is the second-highest city in America for gun theft from cars.

These numbers have been on the rise for the past decade.

Using FBI crime data, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund’s research shows that “at least one gun is stolen from a car every 15 minutes, on average.”

The research also states that the “rate of gun thefts from cars” has increased 225%.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly, also the co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, responded by saying, “The research is clear: guns stolen from cars are rising, dangerous, and are responsible for a tremendous amount of violence in our communities. We need common-sense laws that ensure responsible gun owners aren’t inadvertently contributing to violent crime …”

In Red Bank, Detective Sergeant Steve Hope offers simple advice to commuters — keep valuable possessions out of plain sight.

“If you’re going to keep your valuables in there, lock them up,” Hope said. “Don’t leave them in the seat because the first thing someone’s going to do is they’re going to come look. They’re going to see the gun, the purse, the wallet. They’re going to see the cell phone and then they’re going to bust the window, take it and just walk away.”

When asked what might motivate a break-in for a weapon, Hope had one answer: cash.

“It’s all about money,” Hope said. “It’s always going to be about money. If you get a firearm, you find a 500-dollar firearm, you’re going to turn around and sell it for 50, 100, 200 dollars. It’s all about money.”

For residents concerned with the growing statistics in gun thefts, but still prefer to keep a firearm in their vehicles, Hope closed by advising drivers to have pictures of their weapon’s information at the ready, just in case.

“At the very least, if you’re going to leave your weapon in there and it gets broken into or entered in, make sure you have the serial number, the model number if you decide you just have to leave your weapon in the car,” Hope said. “Give us something to go on.”

Hope says that this advice should apply to all possessions, such as wallets and purses, not just firearms.

For those who are truly concerned about having their possessions stolen, he advised to either carry it on one’s person or to just simply not bring it and leave it in one’s car to begin with.


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