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Charlotte police: Don’t leave your car unlocked with a gun in it

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The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says crimes involving guns continue to be a problem in the city. This year, 52 illegal firearms have been confiscated, and most of those guns were stolen from the homes and cars of legal gun owners.

Maj. Brian Foley said at a news conference Wednesday that a lot of the gun thefts from cars could have been prevented.

“More than half of the larceny from auto that I see where guns are stolen, the cars are unlocked. Why would someone leave a firearm in an unlocked car is beyond me,” Foley said. “But the owner of that gun, if you have any, any heart in you whatsoever — and you care about people — you gotta understand that if you don’t take care of that firearm, it can kill somebody else.”

Vehicle thefts are up this year, with 733 vehicles stolen so far in 2022. There were a total 2,983 vehicle thefts last year. Foley said a growing number of those thefts are of cars left running outside stores.


Foley said a growing number of those thefts are of cars left running outside stores.

Foley warns drivers that they could get a ticket for leaving their car running unattended in Charlotte.

“That is a city ordinance violation. Generally, we don’t cite unless it’s a pretty egregious offense or if we have run into you before,” Foley said.

CMPD crime statistics for the first quarter of 2022 show overall crime is flat. There have been 18 homicides this year compared to 19 this time last year. The total for 2021 was 98 homicides.

Some of the first quarter statistics CMPD released are:

  • Violent crime up by 2%
  • Sexual assault, rape down by 23%
  • Robberies down by 5%
  • Larceny down by 1% 
  • Vehicle thefts up by 11% 

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Catherine Welch is Assistant News Director at WFAE. She has led newsrooms at KUNC in Greely, CO, Rhode Island Public Radio in Providence, RI and WHQR in Wilmington, NC.