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Casper sees 70% rise in firearm thefts over past two years; police urging gun owners to ‘Lock It Up’

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CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper Police Department said in a press release on Monday that the community has experienced a 70% increase in instances of firearms being stolen over the past two years.

There were 1,181 guns stolen in Casper from 2010-2020. Casper PD said that 20% of those guns were recovered by law enforcement through crime prevention efforts, “meaning those firearms were used in a crime committed in our community or seized as part of a search warrant linked to a crime.”

The police department added that most stolen firearms are not recovered and “continue to circulate and be used for criminal purposes both in and outside of Casper.”

The police department said that firearms are primarily stolen through crimes of opportunity such as people leaving firearms in unlocked vehicles or unlocked homes.

The department is launching a “Lock It Up” public awareness campaign urging gun owners to lock up their homes, cars and firearms. The campaign will include daily social media posts and will last for two months, leading into January.

Casper PD said that January has seen the most gun thefts in Casper over the past ten years.

“While the campaign encourages citizens to lock their residences, vehicles, and firearms — and that will inevitably increase overall safety — we hope to see one very direct outcome from this effort…a decrease in stolen firearms,” said Casper Police Investigative Services Lieutenant Ben Mattila. “The number of firearms stolen within Casper has risen by nearly 70 percent over the last two years.”

“Our investigations into these crimes reveal one strong link — criminals are looking for opportunity, and most times that means an unlocked vehicle. We hope by diligently bringing this issue to the forefront on a daily basis we can influence individual behavior and as a result create a safer community.”

Casper PD said that it will continue to work to get stolen firearms out of the community and hold people responsible for gun thefts.

“We all have a role to play in protecting our firearms from getting into the hands of criminals,” the release adds. “The best way to do that is by locking your home, locking your car, and always safely securing your firearm — every day.”

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