Local News

February 17, 2013

Area gun theft rose 36 percent in 2012

Serial numbers, description crucial in locating weapons


“Most are thefts of opportunity. There are very few residences that are targeted because of guns.”

Most homes from which firearms are stolen are located in rural areas, he said.

“People are going to go to a house where they think they can get away with (breaking in) and not be seen.”

Almost all guns reported stolen in 2012 were taken from private residences, with a few swiped from vehicles during hunting season, Keniston said.

“Several homes hit had significant collections,” with more than a dozen rifles, he said.

Gun dealers in Troop B’s area haven’t fallen victim to theft in recent years, he noted.


Unfortunately, most stolen guns are gone for good.

“Historically, law enforcement recovers about 25 percent,” Keniston said.

Those found may not surface until weeks, months or years have passed since the initial theft, he said.

“We’ve recovered guns all over the nation, including Canada and New York City.”

For the vast majority of the 8,793 guns recovered and traced statewide in 2011, the “time-to-crime” period — the time that passed between the gun’s theft and the occurrence of the crime that led to its recovery —  was three years or longer, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information.

The top three cities in New York for gun recovery were New York City, Rochester and Buffalo, the agency reported.

Keniston said it’s too early to tell how the newly passed New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act may affect gun theft.

Those who are found to be knowingly in possession of a stolen gun are charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a felony.

Email Felicia Krieg:

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR GUNS State Police recommend gun owners inventory their weapons using a form from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Find the "Personal Firearms Record" at Click on "Publications" then "Firearms," then choose ATF 3312.8. Gun owners should include the following information in their inventory: the firearm's manufacturer or importer, model name, serial number, type and action, calibur or gauge, date acquired, cost and the purchase location. Contact the New York State Police Gun Investigation Unit at 897-2093 to request a free copy of the form or to report any suspicious gun activity.

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