Atlanta Facing Epidemic of Gun Thefts
A man and woman were arrested in Atlanta this week and charged with breaking into vehicles. The pair are suspected of breaking into cars with the intent of stealing firearms. Authorities said that more than 40 firearms have been stolen by the two who have broken into 161 cars in the last seven months. If you are a numbers person, that means that one out of four cars the pair hit contained a gun.
It’s a nationwide trend that stems, in part, from lax gun laws dictating their storage and carrying. In recent years, many states have made it easier to carry weapons in public places and store weapons in their vehicles. This means that more gun owners than ever are bringing their firearms wherever they go and storing them in their vehicles when they don’t want to carry them.
Data from the Police
There was a review of Atlanta Police Department data that showed there were at least 850 weapons stolen from vehicles just two years ago. That is close to double the number of firearms stolen from vehicles in 2009. Savannah saw a rise in gun thefts from vehicles to 181 in 2015; in 2014, that number was 140.
In a news conference regarding this latest case, police declined to say exactly how many guns the pair had stolen, but they did say that none of those stolen weapons had been used in crimes. An investigation into the crimes was launched in February after vehicles sitting outside of fire stations in Cobb County were targeted. A spokesperson for the Smyrna Fire Department said that while firefighters are not permitted to bring their weapons into the station, they are permitted to store them in their vehicles.
A Nationwide Trend
The problem extends beyond Georgia. Texas and Florida are experiencing the same rise in this type of crime. It is not only a concern for the public, but for law enforcement officers patrolling the streets. This case did not see weapons being used in other crimes, but that isn’t the same situation in other states where stolen weapons are indeed used during the commission of other crimes.
There is now a major focus on combating this type of theft. Gun owners will be asked to store their weapons in a safer manner. Leaving weapons in vehicles may be legal, but it is not often considered a wise option. Too many people are breaking into vehicles with the intent of stealing these guns and, ultimately, using them to commit violent crimes, putting innocent people in harm’s way.
If you are arrested for a gun crime in Atlanta, it is important that you speak to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A felony conviction can have a lasting impact on your life, both professional and personal. Call our office today to set up an appointment for a free case evaluation and let us explain your legal options. You have the right to a strong defense, and we are able to provide it.