At the risk of boring you, I must ask: “Why does government exist?”
There are many reasons, of course, but maybe a good one is to protect the public.
For example, if the neighborhood bully takes your TV, your local government will send over a police officer to say “Bad news: We won’t find it. Good news: You can buy a new one for less than your insurance deductible.”
Only 26 percent of stolen property is recovered, according to FBI statistics. Less than 5 percent of TVs are recovered. Cars, being difficult to hide, are far and away the most often purloined property found (58 percent).
Not sure what percent of stolen TVs and cars still work when they are returned to their owners, but chances are their condition is not improved by their travels.
Many years ago my car was stolen from a parking lot. Someone drove it into the ocean on Daytona Beach. Judging from the large, empty cans of beer found in the floorboards they had a good time doing it.
More recently, I was at a stop sign on Covington Highway and saw a woman get out of her car at a convenience store to pay for gas. An agile youth pretending to use one of humanity’s few surviving phone booths jumped in the vehicle and took off.
I dialed 911 as the car thief headed towards Memorial Drive. The criminal, after hitting several cars and a concrete embankment near a MARTA track, was last spotted scampering across a field towards the DeKalb County jail. He must not be from around here, I guessed, but I knew the driver of the stolen car had made it too easy for the criminal.
Guns, unlike cars, are easy to hide. Guns in cars are easy to steal.
Consider these disturbing facts:
- A 2015 study says more guns were stolen in Atlanta than any other major U.S. city surveyed.
- Police say 70 percent of all guns reported stolen in Atlanta in 2015 were stolen from cars.
- Some studies say in 80 percent of all crimes committed with guns, the gun is not owned by the criminal.
- Less than 9 percent of stolen guns are recovered, according to the FBI.
Georgians may be the world’s worst at keeping their guns. Some are lawfully seized at the Atlanta airport, where a record 245 were taken from passengers last year.
Many more are taken illegally. Georgians reported 12,906 firearms stolen in 2012, Texans 18,874 and Floridians 12,571, according to federal data. But Texas has almost three times as many people as Georgia; Florida has about twice as many. If you do the math, which I tried, you end up with a confusing bunch of numbers that seem to indicate we might need a law requiring people to lock their guns up.
Instead, Georgia lawmakers have, in recent years, made it easier for us to take our firearms to places they can more easily be stolen.