Firearms stolen from approximately triple vehicles from 2019 to 2020


Majority of stolen firearms reported from vehicles

MADISON, Wisconsin – Data shows that car thefts have increased every year in Madison since 2017, with some items stolen from cars also becoming a greater concern.

According to data from the Madison Police Department, between 2016 and 2019, between 24 and 43 firearms were reported stolen from vehicles each year. In 2019, the number was 31, before almost tripling to 90 in 2020.

So far in 2021 between January and August, more firearms have been reported stolen from vehicles than in 2019 at 38, with 15 reports in August alone. According to MPD, this data can still change as they finish typing reports.

“I think it’s very, very dangerous,” said Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes, calling gun thefts from cars a crime of opportunity. “I think people get lucky with break-ins and then look for weapon slots, whether it’s a dresser drawer or a glove box or under a seat, and they just luck.”

The year 2020 represents an anomaly in many ways, also impacting the statistics. Barnes noted that for a property crime to occur, there must be an appropriate target, a motivated offender, and a lack of guardianship.

“2020 offered an opportunity for all three elements to be present as the quarantine created suitable targets as people left valuables in their vehicles because they were at home and they thought they could easily observe their property, ”said Barnes. “The offenders were motivated by the lack of people who would normally move around and could easily identify suspicious behavior. I expect these trends to diminish as we return to normal in our community. “

In Madison, data shows that the majority of firearms reported stolen – about 78% since 2016 – have been stolen from vehicles.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said based on referrals in the county, a large number of entries and stolen items from vehicles were committed by minors.

“This is a very serious concern,” said Ozanne. “It also means that these guns, these guns are now in the hands of miners, and it really is a recipe for disaster.”

News 3 Now read all of the reports on stolen firearms in cars so far this year. Most of those missing were left under a car seat, in the glove box or in the car’s center console.

“Cars make horrible gun safes,” Barnes said.

A victim reports that he locks his car “99 times out of 100”, but that he must have forgotten it.

Rarely have guns been returned and even more rarely have the culprits been found. In one report, the stolen weapon was found in Chicago during the commission of a felony.

“Once the gun is there, the people who steal it aren’t the ones you want your gun to be,” said Brett Fankhauser, longtime director at Deerfield Pistol and Archery Center.

He has received phone calls from customers who have had their guns stolen looking for serial numbers. He recommends keeping track of serial numbers and doing everything in your power to protect your gun from potential thieves in the first place.

“They want fast, that’s what they’re looking for, something fast,” Fankhauser said. “Keep your guns safe. Don’t leave your gun in the car. The car is not secure.

Captive safes can keep guns safer in a car, but ultimately Fankhauser said a gun is safer for you or safe in the home.

“Be responsible with this,” Fankhauser said. “When it’s stolen and it passes through the hands of people who are not like that and they use it to hurt someone, and if you ever find out that it was your gun that got it. fact, it’s going to be a burden on your mind. “

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