PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Pittsburgh police are urging people to not leave guns in their cars as they have been seeing a rise in gun thefts from vehicles.
"The past several weeks, we've seen an increase of firearms being stolen from vehicles. The past weekend we had several firearms stolen from vehicles and what's alarming is that these vehicles, some of them are being broken into, where the glass is being broken into, and the firearms stolen," said Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Zone 5 Commander Stephen Vinansky.
Commander Vinansky said some of the recent firearm thefts happened in Homewood, the South Side and other parts of the city. He said it can happen anywhere.
Officers are noticing a trend with the thefts: most are occurring at night while the gun owners are inside bars, restaurants or other social establishments.
"This happening in entertainment areas, anywhere there are liquor establishments. If firearms are stolen, there is a danger that others can be hurt and a lot of times, unfortunately, young folks," said Commander Vinansky.
Guns getting into the wrong hands is concerning to police.
"A lot of gun violence happens with people who illegally possess firearms for a variety of reasons and a stolen gun on the street is dangerous inherently in of itself," he said.
Gun owners and other residents are also concerned about the spike in gun thefts.
"Being an owner of a firearm, it's definitely alarming. I wouldn't want my protection to be taken away from me unknowingly. At times, I don't lock my doors, and being I'm in the area a lot, I will start to lock my doors a little bit more. Because as a person, you think, 'hey, it wouldn't happen to me,'" said Sade Ottey, who works in the Homewood area.
"It doesn't surprise me at all with the state of everything," said Souh Side resident Eric Derkotch. "More firearms means more crime, especially if they are illegal. Unless you are responsible with your firearms, people shouldn't be keeping them in their cars anyway," he said.
Police said do not leave your firearm in your car. If you're going out to have fun, just leave it at home.
"Simply because you locked your vehicle, firearms should not be considered secure in your vehicle because people can easily break into the vehicle. Unless your vehicle would be equipped with a volt that's secured to the frame and independently lockable," Commander Vinansky said.
Police said to always lock your vehicle because it's an extra step that may help prevent potential theft. Pittsburgh police will increase patrols in the areas where the firearms thefts have been occurring.
"Our detectives are hard at work, and we are going to have increased patrols in the areas where we are seeing the theft from vehicles and of course we always encourage any tips from the community," said Commander Vinansky.
Anyone with information about the recent thefts can share tips with Pittsburgh police.
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