May 16, 2024 - News

Houston leads Texas in guns stolen from cars

Illustration of an outline where a gun should be held.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Houston leads the state in the number of gun thefts from cars, according to a new report by gun safety group Everytown.

Why it matters: Stolen guns are difficult to trace and are often later used in other crimes, the report notes.

By the numbers: In Houston, more than 3,300 firearms were stolen from vehicles in 2022, the most in the state.

  • The city's rate of vehicle gun thefts was 145.9 per 100,000 people in 2022, behind only San Antonio's leading rate in Texas of 209.5 thefts per 100,000 people and Lubbock's rate of 179.7.

Zoom in: In Texas, San Antonio ranked second in the number of gun thefts from vehicles with 3,000.

  • Dallas placed third in Texas with 1,400 guns stolen, at a rate of 110.5 per 100,000 people, and Austin took fourth with 900 guns stolen, at a rate of 94.2 per 100,000 people.

Flashback: The City of Houston held five gun buyback events in the last few years to reduce the number of unwanted firearms in the community — hoping to also reduce the number of gun thefts.

The big picture: The rise in vehicle gun thefts has coincided with increases in gun ownership, adults carrying guns in public, and the proliferation of permitless public-carry laws.

Go deeper: Everytown analyzed almost a decade of FBI crime data from 337 cities across 44 states, with a combined population of about 63 million people.

  • The analysis found that the rate of gun thefts from cars in these cities tripled from 2013, rising from an estimated 21 thefts per 100,000 people that year to 63 thefts per 100,000 people in 2022.

Zoom out: The rate of gun thefts from vehicles was almost 18 times higher in cities in states with lax gun safety laws.

  • Memphis, Atlanta, St. Louis, Richmond and San Antonio were the top five cities, respectively, with the highest rates of vehicle gun thefts, according to the report.
  • Texas allows open carry and for gun owners to carry firearms in their vehicle without a permit. Meanwhile, California has the strongest gun safety laws in the U.S., requires background checks and concealed carry permits among other foundational policies.
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