MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For every four cars that are broken into, a criminal finds a gun. That’s according to new data the Memphis Police Department released.

WREG continues to push for a Gun Safe Memphis, so we pushed to find out where the thieves are striking to help you be aware.

Looking at MPD’s Crime Tracking Map, in the last week there were 136 vehicle break-ins reported across the city.

► Map: Auto breakins across Memphis this year

Officers said car break-ins are happening in every part of the city, but in City Council District One, which includes parts of Raleigh and northeast Memphis, thefts from vehicles doubled in the past year.

“About a quarter of our car break-ins result in a stolen pistol,” said an MPD representative at a City Council meeting Tuesday. “Our suspects are looking for weapons. They’ll break into a car. Most of the time they smash a window out.”

A chunk of them happened in downtown, including cars parked at a hotel on North Main Street that we told you about.

Calum Tuttle said he walked outside of his Mud Island apartment on Monday morning to find his car window bashed in. More than 20 cars had been hit.

“The glass was shattered. Glass everywhere,” Tuttle said. “Everything had been gone through in my glove box and center console.”

Nothing was missing though, becuase he said he didn’t leave anything of value in his car. Tuttle was an intern at WREG this summer, so he said he was aware of our stories about the uptick in car break-ins in the city, and the item thieves are after.

The map also showed several more vehicle break-ins in Hickory Hill around businesses near the Hickory Ridge Mall. A few more were in shopping areas off Summer Ave near Perkins and in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Tuttle said the break-in was a pain, because he had to get his window fixed Tuesday and doesn’t know if and when the thieves will strike again.

“Clearly it’s continuing to happen. It’s been like this for a long time now, and it’s probably going to happen again,” he said.

MPD offered some tips…

  • Don’t leave your gun or anything of value in your car
  • Keep you car locked and get an alarm
  • Park in a well-lit area if you don’t have a garage