KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knoxville Police Department continues to see a growing trend of guns being swiped from people's vehicles.
KPD said it received 103 vehicle burglary reports that included a stolen gun, according to the most recent data as of November 15.
In nearly 85% of cases, KPD said the vehicles were left unlocked or there weren't any signs of forced entry.
"That is a concerning trend that unnecessarily puts the public at risk. Stolen firearms are often used in the commission of other violent crimes or dangerous felonies," KPD said.
Police said vehicles should never be left unlocked, as many of these incidents are crimes of opportunity where criminals go around and look for valuables in plain view and pull on door handles. Firearms should also not be left in a vehicle if they are not stored in a locked container.
"Criminals will take the path of least resistance. By simply removing valuables, including all firearms, from an unoccupied vehicle and locking the vehicle at all times, a crime with dangerous implications could almost always be prevented," KPD said.
KPD said people should keep a record of their firearm serial numbers in case it is stolen. Without it, police said it's difficult for them to track down and recover the gun.