Tampa Police Urge Gun Owners to Help Stem Increase in Lost, Stolen Firearms
Tampa has seen a 32 percent increase in stolen firearms so far this year, police say.
TAMPA – With gun sales in Florida seeing historic increases, the Tampa Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are urging Tampa residents to take common-sense steps to prevent having their firearms fall into the wrong hands by being stolen or lost.
So far in 2015, Tampa has experienced a 32-percent increase in stolen firearms, with 375 stolen between January and November. During the same time period, the city has experienced a 27-percent increase in recovered firearms, with 84 recovered so far. All told, TPD has taken more than 1,000 illegal guns off the streets. That doesn’t include the more than 520 guns collected in a gun buyback program in June.
“We’re doing everything we can to take illegal firearms off the street, but residents can take steps to help us keep our city safe,” Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward said.
Guns are often stolen during burglaries to cars, homes, or businesses. No area of the city is immune to burglaries involving the theft of a gun, police say. So far this year, Tampa has had 135 reports of firearms stolen in burglaries to homes or businesses, and 105 reports of firearms stolen in auto burglaries.
Authorities are urging residents to safely store their guns. Because a large number are stolen from cars, firearms owners are urged not to leave guns in their cars, especially not in plain view or in an obvious place, and to avoid leaving a gun in a car when valet parking.
Tampa police and the ATF also are urging firearm owners to keep serial numbers in a safe place, in case the firearm is lost or stolen.
“In the state of Florida the safe storage of firearms is required by law,” said Regina Lombardo, ATF special agent in charge. “We ask that our community work together with ATF and TPD to make certain that firearms are secured properly and out of the hands of teenagers and those that want to commit violent crime by use of a gun.”
For information about the Tampa Police Department, go to tampagov.net.
Tampa Police | Eric Ward | Guns | Firearms | Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms | TB Reporter
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