Police in Danville say they have seen a significant spike in gun thefts over the past four months, especially from unlocked cars.
Over the past two years, this has been a problem all over the city, according to police chief Philip Broadfoot, who held a press conference Friday to discuss the issue.
Since November 1, 65 firearms have been reported stolen, and nearly half of those were stolen from vehicles, Broadfoot said. As for the gun thefts so far in 2017, more than two thirds of those guns were stolen from vehicles, he added.
According to Broadfoot, this is a significant jump from 2015 when 92 firearms were reported stolen all year.
During Friday’s press conference, police ran home surveillance videos, showing how criminals walk through neighborhoods looking for unlocked cars.
While a few guns have been stolen from locked cars, the majority of them were taken from unlocked vehicles, Broadfoot said.
“There’s a lot of vehicles that are entered, but nothing is taken, and nothing of value is in there,” he said. “But all it takes is you can go through 25 cars in a night and find one with a firearm, and you’ve made $300 to $400.”
Police have found many of these gun thefts are gang-related, Broadfoot said, and stolen guns have been used in other crimes.
Police plan to distribute cards to neighbors warning them about the problem, Broadfoot said.
To avoid having your firearm stolen, Broadfoot said he believes it is best to always keep it with you. But if you have to leave it in your car, he suggests keeping it in a locked box in the trunk.