Announced in a press release, the Casper Police Department is launching a  ‘Lock it Up’ public awareness campaign to encourage people to lock their homes and cars to prevent firearms from being stolen.

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This two-month campaign will lead into January, the top month for gun thefts according to the release, and feature social media posts reminding people to secure their homes, cars, and guns.

Casper Police Investigative Services Lieutenant Ben Mattila said:

"While the campaign encourages citizens to lock their residences, vehicles, and firearms – and that will inevitably increase overall safety – we hope to see one very direct outcome from this effort…a decrease in stolen firearms. The number of firearms stolen within Casper has risen by nearly 70 percent over the last two years. Our investigations into these crimes reveal one strong link – criminals are looking for opportunity, and most times that means an unlocked vehicle. We hope by diligently bringing this issue to the forefront on a daily basis we can influence individual behavior, and as a result, create a safer community."

Wyoming is just under Montana when it comes to legal gun ownership, with an estimated 66.2% of state residents owning a gun compared to Montana's 66.3%.

According to the release, firearms that are stolen within Casper are done primarily through unlocked vehicles and sometimes unlocked homes.

Between 2010 and 2020, 1,181 guns were stolen in Casper.

From that, 298, or 20%, were recovered by law enforcement through other crime prevention efforts, meaning those firearms were used in a crime committed or seized as part of a search warrant linked to a crime.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in Wyoming there were two firearms stolen in 2020, seven in 2019, 46 in 2018, and seven in 2017, while during the same period more firearms were reported lost, with 11 lost in 2020, 28 in 2019, 267 in 2018, and 26 in 2017.

In all cases from 2020 to 2017, firearms were taken through either burglary or larceny, but never in a robbery.

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