The Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) is once again pleading with Nashvillians to be careful if they plan on leaving weapons in their cars.

“MNPD’s continuing Park Smart message is to urge motorists to lock their automobile doors, secure any valuables – especially guns – and remove the keys,” MNPD spokeswoman Kristin Mumford told The Tennessee Star.

“So far this year, 711 guns have been stolen from vehicles in Nashville. Nearly 70% of ALL guns reported stolen in 2022 (1,025) were taken from vehicles. Last week, 16 guns were stolen from cars and trucks,” a Wednesday press release said. “Going hand in hand with vehicle burglaries is vehicle theft. A review of last week’s stolen vehicle reports in Nashville shows that 58% of the automobiles taken (30 of 52) were easy targets because the keys were left inside or made available to thieves.”

“Just like guns taken from vehicles, these stolen autos are also routinely involved in criminal activities, including carjackings and robberies,” according to the release.

Gun theft, particularly from vehicles, is an ongoing issue in Nashville.

Currently, the city is on track for a record-breaking year in the way of stolen firearms.

At the beginning of June, 823 guns had been reported stolen in the city in 2022, up from 578 during the same time period in 2021.

Overall, the percentage of guns stolen from vehicles about 70 percent – remains on par with the percentage stolen from vehicles last year.

Last year, of the 1,789 total guns stolen in Nashville, more than 70 percent were stolen from vehicles.

MNPD has attempted to alleviate the issue through a special program.

“I will add that through PRISM efforts (Precision Recovery Initiative Securing Munitions/Motor Vehicles), recovered firearms are up 27 percent or 217 more guns recovered than last year at this same time,” Mumford told The Star. “Regarding PRISM, this is an effort to combat violent crime by working to recover guns and stolen vehicles which are often used in the commission of these crimes.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]