Fort Worth

Fort Worth Police Tracking Spike in Guns Stolen from Cars, Used in Violent Crimes

The north side of Fort Worth is growing quickly and with the population boom, comes an increase in crime. Right now detectives are tracking a spike in guns being stolen out of cars and later used in violent crimes.

Over the past year, there have been 139 of these cases, people breaking into cars and taking off with guns left inside and that's only in the quickly growing area north of Loop 820, specifically north of North Tarrant Parkway.

It's a disturbing trend for investigators because of where those guns can end up.

When you're a mom, you want to build a protective wall around your children. So when someone broke into Taylor Smith's car two weeks ago, she said, "It's definitely uneasy feeling."

The family put in surveillance cameras, and the very next weekend thieves came back.

"They actually started from down the street and looked in every single car, all the way up to the El Camino," said Smith.

It's an all-too common scene in far north Fort Worth neighborhoods like Smith's.

Investigators shared several surveillance videos with NBC 5, showing how quickly it can happen, especially with a door left unlocked.

"What criminals do is they're going to go shopping and they're gonna go shopping in a neighborhood where they know they can find nice things," said Fort Worth Police Sgt. Marc Povero.

But crimes of opportunity can quickly turn to acts of violence, when thieves find guns in the car.

It's happened 139 times this year in far north neighborhoods, with the highest spike just last month: 23 guns stolen.

"Some of these weapons have been recovered and we've discovered that they've been used in other crimes, most of them violent crimes, including aggravated robberies, aggravated kidnappings," said Povero.

It’s the dangerous end of the line of a petty theft that turns a gun owner's best intentions against them.

"It would be very unfortunate for somebody to take your own safety and then hurt somebody with it," said Smith.

And steals security from neighborhood streets.

Fort Worth police are asking people to keep your car doors locked and take your guns inside at night. They also suggest keeping close track of a gun's serial number in case it needs to be tracked down. One idea is to take a picture of the serial number and email it to yourself.

Police do have a long-term plan for fighting the increase in crime up north. They just broke ground this week on a new far north patrol division to boost their presence and reduce response times.

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