HPD & ATF say gun thefts from unattended cars could lead to violent crimes

The ATF and Houston Police want gun owners to step up and take more responsibility for their weapons and stop leaving them in unattended vehicles.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the number of motor vehicle burglaries in Houston has gone up 21 percent from this time last year. So far this year, more than 1,700 guns have been stolen from people's vehicles in Houston and some are used in violent crimes.

"We're getting too many hard core violent criminals and we're arming them because we're simply not using good judgement," said Acevedo.

He said if you're going to leave your weapon in your vehicle, lock up your vehicle and lock up the gun, as well.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)-Houston Division Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski said gang members target vehicles that have pro gun or second amendment stickers on them.

"Under 2,000 guns stolen in cars this year. But, in the last four years that's pretty consistent. That's a little over 7,900 guns that have been stolen out of cars. That is a major pipeline of guns going to the criminal element," said Milanowski.

He said criminals aren’t getting their guns from gun stores or stealing from people’s homes.

"A lot of gang members tell us that all night long they break into vehicles and they get all the guns that they want," said Milanowski.

He said gun owners should have their guns' make, model and serial number recorded in case they are stolen.

HPD can also give out gun locks o Houstonians for free.

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