SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — There has been a slight increase in violent crime in the City of Spartanburg over the last few months.

Officials with the police department said the spikes we see are largely due to people being irresponsible gun owners, and leaving their guns in unlocked cars.

“It’s deeper than somebody just having a gun in their hand,” said Major Art Littlejohn.

Littlejohn, with the Spartanburg Police Department, said crime statistics will always have ups and downs.

“Overall, from time to time, our numbers do increase, sometimes they decrease, it’s just peaks and valleys,” he said. “During this time, the last couple of months, we have seen a slight increase. But that’s coming up from a decrease we had previously.”

The number of total crimes against people during the month of September 2020 was 93, whereas in September 2021 that number was up to 104. This year, there were 121 crimes against people in September.

“When you start looking at violent crimes, it can be anything from assaults between people who know each other, that also includes our domestics,” said the Major.

In fact, Littlejohn said that’s the case in 99% of crimes.

“It’s not like random crimes or violence, it’s people who know each other and then people being irresponsible gun owners,” he said.

He said that is part of the reason we have witnessed these spikes.

“Over and over we find guns that are stolen from vehicles,” said Major Littlejohn. “Every 1 out of every 5 cars [that are] broken into, we find a gun.”

Having your gun stolen is something that can be avoided.

“Every gun nowadays that you buy from a factory, brand new, in the box, will come with one of these. It is a lock for them to keep the gun locked up,” said Kyle Marlow.

Marlow, manager at T&K Outdoors, said there are gun safes that will fit in your car, but always make sure your car is locked.

“Click that button, double-click it if you’re unsure, triple-click it if you’re that unsure,” said Marlow.

If you keep your gun in your car and do not have a safe, Marlow says the safest place is to lock it in your glove box.

Major Littlejohn said they will continue to go into the community, constantly check their numbers and try to predict crime. The biggest thing, he said, is for anyone who is a victim to report it.