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Columbia ranked third in the nation for gun thefts from cars

Researchers wrote that overall thefts from cars have decreased by 15% over the last decade but...
Researchers wrote that overall thefts from cars have decreased by 15% over the last decade but gun theft from vehicles has gone up 225%.(Unsplash)
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 11:54 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A new study is saying two cities in South Carolina are in the top five for gun thefts from vehicles in the United States.

Researchers from the Everytown for Gun Safety organization analyzed FBI data from 2011 to 2020. They said the data showed the top five cities are:

  1. Memphis, TN
  2. Chattanooga, TN
  3. Columbia, SC
  4. North Charleston, SC
  5. Warner Robins, GA

Researchers wrote that overall thefts from cars have decreased by 15% over the last decade but gun theft from vehicles has gone up 225%. The data also shows that 41% of those gun thefts are happening from vehicles parked at a residence.

When looking at the 149 cities in the study, the researchers said, “In many of these cities, high rates of gun ownership and laws that make it easier to take guns out of homes create conditions under which gun thefts from cars may be more likely.”

Prior to the pandemic the guns were sold at around 13.5 million per year nationally. In 2020 that number jumped to 22 million.

The study pointed to stronger gun safety laws requiring, “...guns be securely stored and not visible when left unattended in cars.”

In 2020 nearly 77,000 guns were stolen nationwide, with researchers estimating the number may even be higher. Only 15 states in the country require firearm thefts to be reported so the number may be underreported.

The researchers explained, “Some police chiefs speculate that a combination of unlocked cars and increasing numbers of young people engaging in this particular crime type may be relevant.”

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In 2020 Columbia had 230 firearms stolen from vehicles. North Charleston reported 184 in 2020. The city with the highest reported theft in the study, Memphis, had 1,262.

To view the full study, click the link here.

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