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Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019 12:06 am

LOCK YOUR DAMN CAR

Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow this week briefed the city council on the department’s efforts at reducing gun violence, particularly shootings involving proven or suspected gang members. It was a mixed bag. On the plus side, shootings are down 24% since 2017, when a rash of shootings generated fear and attention. On the other hand, numbers are, so far, essentially flat compared with last year. Winslow told the council that the department will be mailing out surveys starting this week, asking residents what they think about crime. Surveys will come with self-addressed stamped envelopes, and so it will take nothing but a few minutes of time to tell cops what you think. What grabbed us most from Winslow’s presentation was his take on where guns might be coming from. Police stats suggest gun owners are leaving guns in unlocked cars, Winslow told the council. Last year, the department recorded 32 vehicle burglaries in which guns were stolen, with just one of the thefts involving force, meaning that thieves, in most cases, simply opened a door and helped themselves. So far this year, Winslow said, the department has responded to 27 thefts of guns from vehicles, with just one case involving force. Winslow speculated that the increase is due to more folks acquiring concealed-carry permits – for whatever reason, more folks are toting guns around and too many leave them unlocked in cars. Here’s an idea: Revoke concealed-carry permits from folks who leave guns unattended for thieves to steal. That, unfortunately, isn’t the law, so, in the meantime, if you feel the urge to pack heat, take a second to lock your car and bring your weapon inside at night. The rest of us will thank you.

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