JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - According to Missouri State Highway Patrol data, the dollar value of firearms stolen so far this year has increased compared to the same time in 2017.
Cole County Sheriff John Wheeler says the data can be misleading because the data is represented in value rather than quantity or type of firearm.
The MSHP's Uniform Crime Reporting data says $9,633 worth of firearms were stolen in Jefferson City through May of 2018, compared to $7,575 in 2017. Both values are a sharp decrease from the $19,413 worth of guns that were stolen in the first five months of 2016.
Guns are often stolen from vehicles, according to Lt. Deric Heislen of the Jefferson City Police Department. He says sometimes theives look for unlocked cars, which can result in fewer leads for investigators.
“It's a crime of opportunity typically," Heislen said. "Most of the thievery that’s done is not done by busting out a window, it’s just checking cars to see if their door is unlocked.”
“If (your guns) get taken (from your unlocked vehicle) and they’re used in a crime, that’s something you have to live with," Wheeler said. “You could’ve prevented that crime if you had locked your car.”