CHARLOTTE — Police issued an alarming warning Wednesday morning, announcing that nearly 300 vehicles have been broken into in the past nine days.
In many cases, the car break-ins have led to thieves stealing guns from the vehicles as well, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.
During a morning news conference, CMPD said that over the past nine days, there have been more than 280 vehicles broken into across the city -- a 34% spike from last year.
CMPD said the AvidXchange Music Factory is one of the hardest hit areas. In one night, around 10 guns were stolen out of cars there -- and police said they’ll likely see them again.
“Anytime we have guns taken, those guns can certainly be used later on and there’s a great chance we’ll encounter those firearms,” said CMPD Capt. Brad Koch.
So far this year, there have been roughly 4,100 vehicle break-ins, and 446 guns have been stolen in the process -- which is 65% more than last year.
In May, car break-ins were up 44% from 2020. And even though most people were at home last May because of COVID, Koch said those statistics are still up more than 30% compared to May 2019.
Parking lots and decks around hotels and clubs are the biggest target spots, and Koch said criminals aren’t shy about getting into cars.
“They’re doing whatever they have to do to get into a car -- even breaking windows,” he said.
Koch said the police department can’t solve the problem alone, so gun owners have to be responsible.
Police stressed that the best practice is to not leave guns in vehicles. There may be times when that is unavoidable, so CMPD recommends the use of a lockbox that can be secured to a fixed object inside your car.
(WATCH BELOW: Break-ins across city increase despite stay-at-home order, CMPD says)
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