Albuquerque police say gun owners need to be sure they are taking the time and putting more effort into securing their firearms.

A one month search of the Albuquerque metro reveals more crime than space on the map. What’s more, it only covers burglary, robbery and auto theft.

Yet, a breakdown shows these numbers:

  • 808 burglaries, robberies and auto thefts for the month of February.
  • 839 burglaries, robberies and auto thefts in March.
  • 868 burglaries, robberies and auto thefts in April.

A steady incline, but what’s even more alarming is what thieves walked away with.

  • A loaded 357 magnum
  • A 12 Gauge shotgun
  • A nine millimeter with a laser and light.

They stole a total of 34 firearms in four months and that’s just in the Foothills, but APD says they’re seeing the trend citywide.

It’s not all they’re tracking.

“We’re seeing more and more property crime offenders, the nonviolent property crime offenders arming themselves with guns in order to further their crime sprees,” said APD Officer Tanner Tixier. “The perfect example is Shane Garcia who was just arrested by the US Marshals.”

Marshals arrested Garcia earlier this week for impersonating APD officers in a home invasion.

“He kicked in the door. He was armed with a firearm, and he yells, ‘Albuquerque police, we’re serving a search warrant,’” explained Tixier.

The thing is, Garcia has no history of violence.

“He’s a burglar. He breaks into houses, he breaks into cars. He steals stuff, but now we can see him on video, arming himself with a gun to go and burglarize homes and burglarize cars,” said Tixier.

It begs the question, why? “I don’t know if we have an answer to that,” Tixier admitted.

Yet, they may have an idea. As more residents arm themselves, more criminals follow suit.

“Which is going to be a tragedy waiting to happen,” said Tixier. “These are the people that we usually have to use higher degrees of force on.”

“These are the kind of people who might be willing to take a shot at a police officer?” asked KRQE News 13.

“Or an innocent citizen,” replied Tixier.

Tixier says there’s nothing wrong with owning a gun, as long as you take precautions.

“You’re not home to utilize it or protect it or protect yourself with it, then lock it up so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands,” Tixier advised.

Tixier adds you should never leave your gun in your car—locked or not. APD crime analysts say some of the biggest issues they see are people leaving valuables in parked and, often unlocked, vehicles.

With small, portable gun safes ranging from GunVault ranging in price from $36.99-41.99, there’s no reason any of our guns should be stolen by anyone. From Albuquerque to Anchorage, Anaheim to Alexandria, let’s be sure to lock ’em up!