Rapid City sees a decrease in stolen guns from cars

RCPD have been raising awareness about this "crime of opportunity."
Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 6:48 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - From 2019 to 2020 the United States saw the biggest increase in gun thefts from cars, and on average at least one gun is stolen every 15 minutes, according to Every Town Research

In Rapid City, between 2018 to 2022 there were more than a thousand guns stolen with 500 of those taken out of cars.

This year the Rapid City Police Department worked on spreading awareness reminding people to not store guns in their vehicles.

“We started into larger educational campaigns for why it’s not a good idea to leave a gun in a vehicle, whether that vehicle is locked or unlocked. A lot of the guns that we see either stolen or unaccounted for, in our community, come from being left in vehicles,” said Brendyn Medina, public information officer, RCPD.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, car thefts have increased across the nation, including Pennington County.

“So, we do see vehicle burglaries in the summer months and that’s why it’s even more important to not give these criminals of opportunity an opportunity to steal a firearm,” said Medina.

But despite the increase in auto thefts, fewer firearms are being stolen out of those vehicles. In fact, there was a 93% decrease in stolen guns taken from locked vehicles in the last year.

“Gun thefts out of automobiles are opportunistic situation and if you don’t leave the gun in the vehicle, it’s not going to get stolen out of the vehicle,” said Mark Blote, a salesman at First Stop Gun & Coin.

Last year between January and June, 31 guns were reported stolen out of locked vehicles, and this year the Rapid City police department only had a report of two. For unlocked vehicles in the same time frame there was a total of 40 stolen last year, and this year there was a total of 16.