SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Salt Lake City Police reported 294 firearm thefts in 2021. That’s a 24 percent increase over three years. 

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said people who steal guns often end up committing other crimes. 

“We’ve had homicides that have occurred that have been the result of guns that have been stolen,” said Gill. 

While Detective Michelle Mechling with the Salt Lake City Police Department told ABC4 she can’t say with certainty what is causing the increase, Gill said an increase in gun sales could be a part of it. 

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, more than 180,000 background checks for firearms were conducted in 2020. That’s nearly double the amount from the year before. 

Utah’s Annual Crime Report also shows an increase in stolen guns in 2020, valued at over one million dollars. The last time it was that high was in 2016. 

Gill said this isn’t about gun control. It’s about gun owners taking the proper precautions, something the Salt Lake City Police Department echoes. 

Salt Lake City Police say gun owners need to lock up their guns, and leaving it in a locked car isn’t enough. 

“I think a lot of times people think they’re safe, if they put them in a car, if they, you know, if they’re not locked up, that’s just not the case,” said Detective Michling. 

Salt Lake City Police also say gun owners should take a photo of their gun and serial number. Police say having this information can help them recover your gun if it is stolen.