Police warn about gun thefts from cars while celebrating July 4
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - While Richmond Police want you to have fun this Fourth of July, they also want you to be mindful of your safety as you celebrate.
“Because people, you know, break into vehicles, take firearms, looking for firearms, especially at large events where there are a bunch of cars around,” said Major Ronnie Armstead of the Richmond Police Department.
Thefts from unlocked cars are a persistent problem. The department is already dealing with hundreds of reported stolen guns from cars this year alone. Police are reminding everyone to lock their car doors when they are out.
“Check it again to make sure they’re locked,” Armstead said. “Go back and check your knobs to make sure they’re locked.”
Police also report a steady decrease in random gunfire cases during Independence Day celebrations.
Richmond Police received 85 of those calls during the holiday in 2018, an all-time high. Last year, there were 54 reports. Police say people are getting the message that it’s dangerous.
“It can cause somebody to get hurt, cause somebody any type of injury,” Armstead said. “Property damage, you know, people’s cars, roofs, residents, businesses. So it just causes a lot of injuries, a lot of property damage, a round goes in the air and then comes back down.”
Stray bullets aren’t just dangerous on July 4, though.
On New Year’s Eve in 2019, a random bullet shattered the sunroof of a rideshare driver while he was traveling on Interstate 64 near Laburnum Avenue.
And just minutes into 2020, La-tiyah Hood, a 28-year-old mother of two, was fatally shot at a North Avenue home as a group of people celebrated by shooting guns into the air.
Police also say their stepped-up DUI patrols continue through Independence Day. So don’t drink and drive.
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