Own a gun? Tri-Cities police need your help.
TRI-CITIES, Wash. — After another rash of prowling incidents last weekend, local law enforcement officers are asking gun owners for help.
Police from Richland, Kennewick and Pasco all agree there's a short list of acceptable places to store your firearm and it doesn't include your car.
This is especially true after a thief stole a gun from a car in Kennewick last week.
Capt. Mike Cobb of the Richland Police Department said stolen guns are often used to commit more crimes,
"It's a significant event anytime a firearm is stolen, whether it's from a home or a motor vehicle."
The thief is the actual criminal, but Sgt. Scott Warren with Pasco Police said the stolen gun's owner should have known better because this kind of crime isn't new,
"Cars have been getting broken into forever. Whenever people leave stuff in their car, it's going to happen."
Sgt. Warren said he doesn't think gun thefts are actually on the rise, we just hear about them more often because police departments are on social media with the rest of us.
In the last two years victims reported 34 guns stolen from Kennewick cars.
- 2016 | 24
- 2017 |10
The numbers in Pasco and Richland are higher but their data includes guns stolen from homes, too.
- 2016 | 51
- 2017 | 35
- 2016 | 20
- 2017 | 39
Capt. Cobb said this is problematic because somebody willing to steal a gun is a thief.
If they succeed, they're now a thief with a gun,
"Guns aren't very particular about who they're going to obey. Keeping them secured, keeping them in the appropriate hands, that's the responsibility of every gun owner."
This is why they're asking you to please think twice about where you store your firearms.
Sgt. Warren said this is especially true if you trust your neighbors,
"Crime is mobile. They'll find your unlocked cars. They're [willing to travel] to ... your nice neighborhood."
Capt. Cobb agreed, he said this is why guns belong somewhere safe, not in cars,
"It's tough to get up and secure your firearm every morning, or when you go to bed, but it's much better to go through that inconvenience than for it to fall into the wrong hands."