Topeka Police address concern over firearm burglaries on social media

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is a priority for the Topeka Police Department.

Chief Bill Cochran said he is alarmed by the number of stolen firearms already this year, and he took the conversation to social media.

So far in 2020, Topeka Police have received reports of 37 stolen guns -- 20 of those from vehicles.

TPD rolled out a new plan in 2020 to reverse a rising gun violence trend.

Cochran said, "One of the things that we experienced last year was several of our homicide suspects, victims, and victims of shootings were young people. So, that's kind of why the focus in 2020 is how do we deal with youth violence specifically as well as violence overall."

Just two months into the year, the department is seeing a high number of stolen guns, so they are taking action.

"You just start looking at okay what can we do to prevent more of these from happening and how do we make the community safer," Cochran said.

He addressed the issue Friday morning in a Facebook Live.

"I think a lot of people view a gun as just another piece of property and by doing that they just leave that piece of property in their car," Cochran said.

He also said that opens up the possibility for criminals to get their hands on it.

"What happens a lot of times is when these firearms are stolen out of cars, then those individuals end up selling them to other people."

Cochran said never leave a gun in a vehicle, even if it's locked and keep guns at home in a safe.

"When we talk about responsible ownership, and we're not saying people shouldn't have guns or should have guns, we're just saying if you're going to have a gun, you legally can own a gun, then be responsible and take care of it," he said.

TPD offers two ways gun owners can do that, with free gunlocks and firearm ID packets.

The packet provides proof of where the gun was purchased and two shell casings in the event a gun gets stolen and used in a crime.

People can pick them up from the law enforcement center.