Tacoma police seeing surge in guns stolen from cars

TACOMA, Wash. — The city of Tacoma continues to see a disturbing trend. In 2022, over 200 guns were reported stolen from vehicles. Just four months into 2023, the city added another 51 guns to the growing list. Tacoma PD now urges gun owners to not leave guns unattended in their cars, as many are used in crimes.

Tacoma PD said criminals look for guns that can’t be traced back to them, so sometimes they steal them. Guns left in unattended cars are easy targets.

Tacoma resident Linda Jones believes she’s been the victim of one of those stolen guns. She’s also still afraid to come out and tend to her flowers because behind her tulips are bullet holes.

“I heard this loud noise, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow; and I said, ‘Oh my god, it sounded like gunshots really close,’” explained Jones.

Jones said she heard those pops as she started to head back inside from her garage. She didn’t realize how close they came to ending her life until roofers across the street alerted her.

“I turned around and I noticed it was my house, the one that got shot up,” Jones said. “I’m terrified because even being in my yard I’m constantly looking behind me, looking around.”

The final count was 10 bullet holes in the front of her house.

“If he did it to me, you think he would do it to somebody else. I haven’t done anything to anybody,” Jones said. “That’s my biggest fear. The guns on these streets are ridiculous.”

“We need everyone to be a part of this. If we want to stop the gun violence then we have to stop being an irresponsible gun owner. We need to lock those guns up,” said Tacoma Police Officer Shelbie Boyd.

One way the community can help is to not leave their guns unattended inside their cars. So far this year, 51 guns have been taken from parked cars.

“I can’t speak specifically to these 51 guns, but as a police officer there were numerous times on the street where I’d arrest somebody, they’d have a firearm on them and they were stolen,” said Boyd. “The youth that have these guns that are using it on other youth, they’re getting it from one of those avenues.”

Those guns, said Boyd, could even be used in crimes outside Tacoma.

“They’re going to reach out to King County, they’re going to reach out to Thurston County. They could go all the way California and beyond,” said Boyd.

Tacoma police says while 51 is still too many stolen guns, it’s down significantly, compared to the 71 stolen during the same time last year.

The number one way to keep guns safe is to not leave them in a car, especially an unlocked one.

Police also ask that gun owners keep guns safely locked in a lock box or safe, especially if you’re in a home with kids or teens.