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Denver gun thefts from vehicles rising at rapid clip

The Denver Police Department said it is concerned about the growing number of gun thefts, which are often used in the commission of other crimes.

Firearm thefts from vehicles have risen dramatically in Denver -- 112 were stolen from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31 of this year, according to a Denver Police Department data release Monday.

The data analyzed the number of gun thefts from vehicles from that same time period since 2010. In 2010, 36 guns were stolen from vehicles from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31. That number has increased 211 percent for 2018. So far this year (including September) 134 guns have been stolen from vehicles, DPD said.

DPD also said it has seen an upward trend when it comes to gun thefts overall -- 347 thefts have been reported from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31 of this year, a 33 percent increase from the 260 gun thefts of that same period in 2010.

Credit: Courtesy Denver Police Department

9Wants to Know first reported on the rising number of stolen guns each year in November 2017.

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Those stolen guns are often used in the commission of other crimes, something that DPD said is "of utmost concern."

DPD at a Monday press conference provided a couple examples illustrating incidents in which stolen guns are used to commit other crimes:

A handgun that was stolen from a vehicle in March 2018 was used in an armed robbery, two separate incidents of unlawful discharge of a firearm and was recovered from an arrestee in a business burglary – all within a 20-day span.

A handgun that was stolen from a vehicle in May 2017 was later used in a carjacking, two felony menacing incidents and three separate incidents of unlawful discharge of a firearm during a period of six months.

Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said taking preventative steps to secure firearms can help curb the trend and "make a positive impact on safety in our neighborhoods."

DPD said that gun owners should always remove guns from parked vehicles, including portable locking cases. For home storage, gun owners should lock them in a safe that's not easily visible from windows, DPD said.

"It is critical that we work together as a community to keep guns out of the hands of criminals," Pazen said.

If you have a newstip for 9Wants to Know, email blowthewhistle@9news.com.