NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As Nashville nears 1,000 guns stolen from vehicles so far this year, some have growing concerns about firearms slipping into the wrong hands.  

Although the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) continues to urge drivers to secure their vehicles and always take keys with them, 953 guns have been stolen so far this year.

“That’s almost 1,000 guns that nobody can place, so that’s very scary, you know. That’s real easy to commit a crime with those guns now, and it’s definitely scary,” Austin Kennedy told News 2 near his car at Centennial Park. “There’s a lot of laws in place that are supposed to protect us and then things like that happen and the protection is gone.” 

Even though 953 guns might seem like a lot, those numbers have gone down. By the same time last year, 1,087 firearms had been stolen from vehicles.

However, some say they don’t find peace in those numbers. 

“That’s, like, almost 100 a month. That is insane. It makes you just wonder where they end up, what is done with them,” Nashville native Jay McMahon said.  

Nearly 80% of all guns stolen in the Nashville area have been taken from vehicles, according to MNPD data. Going hand-in-hand with this trend, according to police, are vehicle thefts.

In too many cases, keys were easily accessible to thieves, the MNPD reported. Meanwhile, just like stolen guns stolen, stolen cars are also often used in criminal activities, like carjackings and robberies.  

“I personally don’t own a gun, but even with that, I still don’t want my car stolen, so when I leave my car, yeah, my car is locked and my keys come with me,” said Heather Lawless, another Nashville resident. 

Nashville is still roughly 1,000 guns away from the total number of firearms stolen from vehicles in 2022, which was 1,952, but only about 400 guns away from the 2021 total of 1,378. 

To keep those numbers down, Kennedy recommended always waiting for a beep to make sure your car is locked and keeping your firearm on you whenever possible.  

“Those guns are now out there, they can be used for even worse crimes than just getting stolen. People can use those cars, if they steal the whole car, they can use it and commit a crime, stuff like that, so it really feels like a gateway to more crimes happening,” Kennedy said.