The city of Houston, Texas isn’t exactly a small community. It’s a huge, bustling place with lots and lots of people doing just about anything at any given moment.

That includes stealing guns out of cars, apparently.

Houston police said they are seeing a rise in the number of guns stolen from cars.

Sergeant Tracy Hicks from the HPD Auto Theft Crimes Task Force said more than 2,000 guns have been stolen from cars in the city in the last 10 months. He said that is an increase of 21 percent since last year.

“It’s not a good guy stealing your gun. It’s a bad guy using it for who knows what,” said Sgt. Hicks. “What is my gun being used for now? That’s scary.”

Sgt. Hicks said there are many clues that thieves look for to tell if there is a gun in someone’s car, such as stickers of gun brands or organizations.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen reference to stickers cluing in criminals that you might have a gun. Frankly, I’ve heard it for a while. It’s why I’ve never had one on my car.

Now, some people are going to argue that this “advice” also has the benefit of isolating gun owners from one another. If you think you’re the only NRA member or GOA member in town, you’re going to feel pretty lonely. Lonely people sometimes shift their politics over time to accept the majority opinion, and that would be the goal.

Frankly, while I get that argument, I also note that some of the police officers sharing this have pro-gun sympathies.

If you’re looking for a firearm, which car is most likely to have one: The pickup with the NRA and Glock stickers or the Prius with the “Coexist” sticker?

Seriously, if you have to spend long thinking on this one, I’ll be sorely disappointed.

Regardless, we know criminals look for guns in cars. With that in mind, don’t be an idiot and leave your gun in the car unsecured. A couple of thousand guns on the streets in criminal hands are a couple of thousand too many. While it may be sometimes unavoidable, it also needs to be rare.

If we don’t start policing ourselves, we’re likely to see more and more calls for legislation aimed at criminalizing such behavior. While I will always oppose the prosecution of crime victims, we can avoid that by stepping up and being the responsible gun owners we always claim to be.

If you regularly leave your gun in the car, get a safe to secure it. While that won’t make your gun immune to theft, it minimizes the risk and also displays a good-faith effort to keep your guns out of criminal hands.

Otherwise, plan accordingly. If an errand requires you to go someplace you can’t have your gun, leave it at home if possible. If not, then maybe have a friend you trust ride shotgun and wait in the car, then the weapon isn’t left alone.

If you have to leave the gun behind, make sure it’s carefully hidden and that the car is locked. Use a car alarm if you have one.

This is something we all have to do. If we don’t, someone will decide to make us criminals for not doing so. No one wants that, so step up and do what’s right.