KILLEEN, TX — Thousands of guns are used in violent crimes every year in the U.S and many of them are stolen right out of vehicles.
One of the first things any firearms instructor will teach is to never leave your gun in the car.
”Never leave your gun in the car. Especially if you know that you are going to park your car in a public place.” said Juan Varona, Firearms instructor and Manager at VT Services Group.
It’s a problem that Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble says is getting worse every day.
”We have a problem with people who own firearms legally but, they leave them accessible to our criminals. They leave their weapons in their car and then they leave their cars unlocked.” said Chief Kimble.
Leaving a gun in an unlocked car is effectively arming violent criminals in Killeen.
”They walk the neighborhoods of Killeen and they look for unlocked cars and they steal weapons. Then, they use those weapons to commit crimes and hurt other people in Killeen.” said Chief Kimble.
If your gun is stolen, it is crucial to report the theft immediately, before that gun is used in a crime.
”If the owner of the firearm that it had been registered to reports it stolen, there is no consequences for that crime.” said Varona.
The rise in gun thefts has left Chief Kimble with one message for the community.
”We have to stop feeding the crime in this city providing bad guys with us. Just that one thing alone, will lower crime in Killeen.” said Chief Kimble.
In 2022 alone, 15 firearms have been reported stolen in Killeen, and 7 were stolen from vehicles.
The problem is, those are only the reported thefts and that means that number is likely much higher.