SAN ANTONIO – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is partnering with the San Antonio Police Department to give away hundreds of free gun locks.
The ATF held a news conference with SAPD Tuesday to announce the prevalence of car break-ins in which firearms are stolen, and how gun locks enable the safe storage of a firearm and can sometimes deter thieves.
San Antonio police Chief William McManus said between 2016 and 2018, the department recorded over 380,000 firearms stolen from vehicles. He said that the highest concentrations of such crimes occurred on the Northwest Side along Interstate 10 between Loop 410 and Loop 1604
"Even though firearm thefts from vehicles in San Antonio dropped in 2018, we still need gun owners to be aware this is a crime trend," McManus said.
McManus said the ultimate goal is to remind people: "Don't leave your guns in your car because people break into cars for a living and we don't want those guns falling into their hands."
Mike Weddel, the ATF's assistant special agent in charge said there are a number of factors that could tell potential thieves whether you have a firearm in your car.
"Often, people, they advertise on vehicles their personal life," Weddel said. "There may be stickers with sporting events, their children's names. Something just to think about for the public is if you're putting certain stickers on your car, it may advertise that within that unattended vehicle, there is a possibility of firearm."
The National Shooting Sports Foundation and Project Child Safe donated 600 gun locks which the department's San Antonio Fear Free Environment Unit will distribute.