STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - Check your car and ensure the doors are locked, Starkville Police warn.
According to police, too many people are forgetting this important step, and it’s led to a rapid increase in auto burglaries and gun violence.
More and more people have been carrying firearms for protection and leaving the guns in their unmarked cars.
Chief of Police Mark Ballard said 99 cars have been burglarized and 54 weapons have been stolen as of June. That is up from the 83 auto burglaries seen in 2018.
Even though officers are still gathering data, Ballard said gun violence has also gone up in the city, especially among young adults and juveniles.
“Obviously, if you put a stolen firearm in the hands of a young person that doesn't have the maturity or understanding or value of life, you are going to have a disaster,” the police chief said. “That is where we see the problem."
Starkville is a college town and when the semester is in session there's a greater opportunity for crime.