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Lexington police urge residents to lock up their vehicles

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Posted at 12:58 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 13:17:59-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) -  — Lexington police officers are reminding residents, especially gun owners: Never leave valuables in your car or truck, and always make sure that vehicle is locked.

So far this year, 132 guns have been reported stolen from vehicles in Lexington. In the vast majority of those cases, the vehicle was left unlocked.

“We are on pace to have the highest number of guns stolen from vehicles in five years,” Chief Lawrence Weathers said. “The easiest thing residents can do to help public safety in our community is to simply not leave valuables in their car – firearms, money, credit cards, electronics, and medication – and to always make sure that vehicle is secured. Doing that prevents you from becoming a victim, and it prevents your gun from possibly being used in another crime.”

Since 2015, 896 firearms have been reported stolen from vehicles in Lexington. Relatively few stolen guns are ever recovered. When they are, it is often in connection to another criminal investigation such as an assault or narcotics trafficking.


2015

2016

2017

2018

2019*

Thefts from motor vehicle

2,834

3,137

2,657

1,988

1,088

Firearms stolen from vehicle

159

181

222

202

132

Most “car break-ins” actually involve vehicles that were accidentally left unlocked. Thieves will routinely check door handles looking for easy targets. If they see a backpack or purse in the vehicle, thieves may gain entry by breaking a window.

In May, a resident reported that someone was checking door handles and looking in vehicles at a downtown parking lot. Officers apprehended 46-year-old Charles M. Smith and charged him with Criminal Mischief, Receiving Stolen Property, and Possession of Burglary Tools. He is believed to be responsible for hundreds of thefts from vehicles in the Lexington area.

Lexington Police and law enforcement agencies across the country have made educating the public about securing vehicles and all valuables a priority. Residents are encouraged to take part in the 9 p.m. Routine, a crime prevention habit of checking your vehicle before turning in for the night. Chief Weathers said the 9 p.m. Routine is making a difference.

“We are seeing an overall decrease in reported thefts from vehicles. Many homeowners have surveillance video and are sharing information with neighbors,” Weathers said. “But we can do better. We all need to do our part in preventing these crimes of opportunity. Never leave valuables in your car, and always make sure the doors are locked.”