HOUSTON — ATF Houston is putting out a message: Guns used to commit violent crimes may have been stolen from a vehicle just like yours.
You should never leave a gun unattended in your vehicle.
There's been a surge in the last year of guns being stolen from vehicles.
“Just in the City of Houston, almost 4,000 guns were stolen from vehicles,” ATF Houston Special Agent In Charge Fred Milanowski said.
Milanowski took part in a news conference Thursday announcing new initiatives by federal law enforcement agencies to help communities like Houston combat violent crime.
He said data shows guns swiped from cars and trucks are very often used to commit crimes.
“That’s not the only way they’re getting guns," Milanowski said. "But it’s a significant way and it’s a way the public, everyone in the public, can step up today and make a difference.”
Leaving a gun hidden in your vehicle isn't good enough. Crooks know to look in glove compartments or in the center console.
In a previous story, Houston Police Department officials said certain stickers, like gun brands or NRA, can tip them off.
"Having your little sticker back here on the back lets you know you’re gun-friendly," HPD Sgt. Tracy Hicks said. "And somewhere in this truck, there’s going to be a gun stored in there.”
Lock it in the trunk if you have a car or get a small gun safe for your truck. You can even use a cable lock to secure a gun to your seat or another immovable part of the car.
"Or keep it on you,” Milanowski said.
Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is the key.