PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Portsmouth Police have been busy lately and we’re not just talking about the work they do investigating violent crime.
Recently, car break-ins have become a big problem in the city, eventually driving neighborhood crime.
People don’t just get by with wallets and phones. Lately Portsmouth detective Brian Davis said there has been an increase in the number of guns being stolen.
“It’s a really big deal, one of our driving indicators here for crime with our auto thefts,” Davis said.
Since May, he says 70 firearms have been stolen from vehicles in Portsmouth. Fifty of them were taken from unlocked vehicles, making some community members an easy target.
“A lot of times it’s crimes of opportunity. People don’t look for guns, they just check vehicles and once you find an unlocked vehicle, it’s just treasure trove of what you find,” explained Davis.
The worst part of it all is where those stolen guns reappear.
“A lot of them can be used later in future crimes,” Davis said.
Police say they can’t just stay in the area they were taken to; they can be transported to other cities and sold illegally, thus spreading crime.
Davis said they are working to raise awareness of the issue to remind people to be vigilant when locking your car and never leave your gun in your car.
“I know our community officers, they go to civic league meetings, they spread the information about locking your vehicles,” Davis said.
They also give out key fobs at community events and give out free gun locks to anyone who wants one to help with overall gun safety in homes.
However, Davis said if it’s too little too late, knowing your gun’s make, model, caliber and serial number is important for detectives to properly investigate.