SPRINGFIELD, Mo. The number of guns being stolen from vehicles in Springfield is increasing in recent years.
These are numbers from Springfield Police Department:
Guns Stolen from Vehicles in Springfield
2011 - 45
2012 - 41
2013 - 45
2014 - 50
2015 - 62
2016 - 98
2017 - 185
**2018 - 123
**2018 numbers include the period of 01/01/18 – 10/08/18
Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams says guns being stolen from vehicles has always been a problem, but seems to have increased since it became legal for Missourians to carry without a permit in 2017.
"They leave them in the glove box, in the console, sometimes even in the trunk, but in most cases, they don't lock the car. They don't secure it," says Williams.
Investigators believe a gun used in three murders last week in Springfield may have been stolen from an unlocked vehicle just days before.
"Bad people take whatever they steal and turn it to illegal uses, and a gun is one more thing. Criminals have always found guns in a variety of means; this is just unfortunately one way it's a little easier for them to come across one, and then it certainly has a potential to be used in another crime," says Williams.
Williams says if you want to carry a gun, carry it with you or make sure it's secure. When you're not carrying it, lock it up at home or in your car, like in a locking glove box or gun safe, and of course, also always lock your car.