Dec. 5-Manchester police are sounding the alarm, warning the number of guns being stolen across the city is on the rise.
The thefts, many of which involve guns being reported stolen out of vehicles, mirror similar trends being reported by law enforcement agencies across the United States.
Manchester police report 73 guns have been stolen in Manchester since the beginning of 2022, and 43 of them were from vehicles.
There were 72 firearm thefts in the city in all of 2021, police said.
"This year, we have already surpassed those numbers and there is still a month left," said Heather Hamel, spokesperson for Manchester police, in a news release. "Manchester Police take these incidents very seriously and detectives work hard to find these guns and the people responsible for the crime."
Manchester police are asking gun owners to store firearms in a safe, secure place.
"If you must keep your gun in your vehicle, always lock the doors," Hamel said in a news release. "The majority of the cars that were broken into this year were left unlocked, making this an avoidable crime."
"We will continue to diligently work these cases but we also need citizens to be responsible and sensible if they choose to own a gun," Hamel said. "These guns oftentimes end up in the hands of the wrong people and are used in the commission of a crime."
Data show more guns are being stolen out of vehicles in many U.S. cities.
From 2019 to 2020, 180 cities reported a rise in gun thefts from vehicles, now the largest source of stolen guns, according to the nonprofit, Everytown for Gun Safety.
The study analyzed FBI crime data from 2011 to 2020, including data from 271 cities ranging in size from small to large in 38 states.
The nonprofit, which supports gun violence prevention, reported that in 2020 an estimated 77,000 guns were reported stolen in the 271 cities involved in the study.
Of these, over half were reported taken from vehicles - much higher numbers than reported just a decade ago, when the majority of gun thefts were from burglaries and less than 25% were taken from cars, Everytown reported.
In many places, Everytown reports, police can do little more than ask residents to lock their vehicles and remove any firearms before exiting.
On average, at least one gun is stolen from a vehicle every 15 minutes, FBI statistics show.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation warns locking your vehicle's doors shouldn't equate to secure firearm storage.
The same applies to someone storing a firearm in a glove compartment or center console, even if they are lockable, because they can be pried open.
The organization recommends using a lockable gun case or lock box to securely store a gun in a vehicle, preferably one that can be securely affixed to the frame.
If quick access is a concern, many lockable safes offer quick access using a touchpad or biometric locks.