It's a crime that is easily curtailed by taking one simple action.

"Lock your cars," said St. George Police Department Sergeant Zack Bahlmann.

The crime that is gaining popularity in Southern Utah is vehicle burglary. Thieves aren't stealing cars that often in our area, but they are stealing from cars.

"Criminals, for the most part are lazy," said SGPD Detective Wyatt Lubbers. "They're looking for an easy mark, an easy way to get your stuff."

And Lubbers said too many Washington County residents are happy to oblige, often leaving their cars unlocked, with valuables easily accessible or even in plain sight.

"We've seen a lot of crimes at trailheads and other recreation spots, where people leave their cars for an hour or a few hours and that's often when these criminals strike," Lubbers said.

Vehicle burglary is a class A misdemeanor, which is the most serious misdemeanor.

Bahlmann said sadly a lot of vehicle burglaries involve citizens who leave firearms in their cars.

"Many crimes involving guns, well the guns are stolen," he said.

Again, Bahlmann exhorts citizens to lock their cars, especially if you're going to keep a firearm in your vehicle.


"Every day in the U.S., roughly one gun is stolen every 90 seconds. That amounts to around 380,000 stolen guns every year, many of which are later used to commit violent crimes. People buy guns to help protect themselves, but when they don’t protect them from being stolen, they’re putting themselves and their communities in danger."

Additionally: Jim Wedick, a retired FBI agent says,

“You just can’t leave a gun alone in a vehicle. You just can’t do it. It has to be in a compartment, or in chains an inch thick wrapped around a lead box, because, God forbid, someone gets hurt."

According to the Washington Post, "Private citizens wind up supplying more than a quarter million guns to criminals every year. From 2017 to 2021, 1,074,022 firearms were reported stolen, the overwhelming majority from private gun owners. Remarkably, roughly 1 in 4 firearm thefts aren’t reported."

This note from the SGPD drives the point home:

  • Gather your valuables from your vehicles to include: keys, wallets, money, guns, etc. and store them safely inside your residence.
  • Lock the doors to your vehicles, residences and close the garage doors.
  • Be a good neighbor by watching out for one another. If you see something suspicious, report it to the police immediately.
  • Remember, it takes all of us to keep this city awesome.

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