Guns being found in all sorts of places in Everett
City launches gun theft prevention program
See the map data
The found gun reports used for this article is mapped out by the Tribune. The map link is: www.tinyurl.com/ EverettGunsReported
EVERETT — People are finding guns cast aside in bushes and other inappropriate places on average twice a month around the city.
People have made 34 reports that they found a stray gun in Everett from January 2017 through late April 2018 according to public records.
These are the pistols dropped in parking lots. Revolvers thrown into the bushes. Handguns tossed to hide evidence.
A pistol found by volunteers doing a park clean up in March made area headlines, but data shows finding a gun in a park is an anomaly.
According to police, the people tossing the guns are most often criminals wanting to get rid of evidence.
During 2017, there were 25 reports of a found gun; so far until April 23, there have been nine calls, from a public records request the Tribune made to the Everett Police Department.
The only gun found at a park in official reports was the pistol volunteers found St. Patrick’s Day weekend at Sen. H.M. Jackson Park. It was unloaded and unclaimed but not a stolen gun, Police Department spokesman Officer Aaron Snell said in April.
How criminals usually get guns is by stealing them in home burglaries and car break-ins, which the Police Department hopes to reduce with a new gun theft prevention program.
“I have seen many reports of firearms being stolen out of vehicles,” Police Chief Dan Templeman told the City Council last week. “Under the seat is not securing it safely.”
Securing safely “does not mean on your dresser (or) in your nightstand.”
The Police Department launched the public education program last week called “Lock It Everett” to educate people on safe gunkeeping and provide free gun cable locks to the public.
The cable locks are available through the two precinct offices. A cable lock goes through the magazine and through the chamber of a gun to prevent firing and effectively being used.
Where were these guns?
Most gun reports in the records appear in random places. One emphasis point that the Police Department cautioned is that the 911 records show where the person is calling from, which may not be the same as where the reported gun was found.
The reports are scattered from all over the city.
Twice, someone reported finding a gun near where homeless people congregate near the Everett Gospel Mission: Once in April 2017 and once in June 2017.
Another showed up near the Motel 6 on Evergreen Way, and one was reported near the Waits Motel, from mapping the data.
Twice this year a found gun report came from the WoodSpring Suites hotel on south Broadway toward the Highway 526 interchange, most recently on April 23.
There were two guns reported from the Everett Mall Way Goodwill shopping center, and one reported from the downtown Everett Goodwill near the Imagine Children’s Museum. Its protocol is to call the police. “People donate everything to Goodwill, so nothing surprises me,” Goodwill Seattle’s spokeswoman Katherine Boury said.
One gun was reported found near Discovery Elementary School in January 2017; another at the Walden Pond Apartments in south Everett in February 2017. A third was reported in July 2017 from the Fairway Estates Mobile Home Park near Walden Pond.
Even if those locations may seem familiar, the dates all differ from when gun violence occurred at Walden Pond in October and when a woman was killed in a homicide at Fairway Estates in December.
Other found guns may not appear in the records log the Tribune was provided. For example, two discarded handguns found by police investigators in April 2017 near the playground at Olivia Park Elementary did not show up in the records provided.
Why would a gun be lost?
There are many reasons firearms are found, but there is no rash of people forgetting their firearm.
Some of the scenarios are that someone legally carrying accidentally drops it, or forgetfully left their gun somewhere. “It would be
safe to say the majority of firearms are not left in public due to owners forgetting/losing them,” Snell said in an email.
More often the guns are ditched, either to hide evidence or get rid of the gun during an active pursuit.
“During chases, criminals often try hiding their firearm,” Snell said. “When recovered, these firearms are useful for prosecution.”
Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2017, there were 112 firearms stolen due to burglary or theft, including 57 firearms stolen in 15 separate burglary events, the city said in its directive earlier this year against youth and gun violence.
“Sometimes firearms had been reported stolen but many were not,” Snell said.
When someone reports finding a gun, the procedure goes like this: officers locate the firearm, unload it, render it safe, then run the serial number to see if it is stolen. Found firearms are impounded, Snell said.
The Everett Police Department’s policy is to melt down and destroy seized firearms that do not get back to the rightful owner, Snell said.
State law permits law enforcement agencies to dispose of firearms how the department sees fit. All agencies have this right except the Washington State Patrol, which by state law must auction off or trade seized firearms.
In the case of the Jackson Park gun, volunteers at the Sen. H.M. Jackson Park clean up called in the pistol to the Police Department. This gun was not stolen and the owner could not be verified, Snell said in April. It was tested and found to be non-functional, he said.
If you find a gun, police emphasize to call 911. Do not pick it up. Teach children to assume a firearm is loaded.
While rarely people bring in found guns to a station, the Police Department would prefer that people call 911 versus bringing it in for officers.
Get a free gun lock
The Lock It Everett program offers free gun locks. The gun locks are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the North Precinct, 3002 Wetmore Ave., and the South Precinct,
1121 SE Everett Mall Way Suite 100.
More information and resources can be found at www.everettwa.gov/lockit
See the map data
The found gun reports used for this article is mapped out by the Tribune. The map link is: www.tinyurl.com/EverettGunsReported
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