MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Violent crime is on the rise in Memphis, and police say stolen guns are playing a major part in that.

In just nine months, 1,286 guns have been stolen from cars in the city. That’s up 61% from this time last year, and those thefts are having unintended consequences.

Police say they’re being taken for a couple of reasons.

“One, to sell them to someone that’s going to use them in a crime, or to use them in a crime themselves. No other reason to steal the gun,” said MPD Assistant Chief Don Crowe.

Police say those guns are then being used to commit carjackings, aggravated assaults and even murders.

They’re noticing the highest number of guns stolen from cars at the Appling Farms Station in Cordova. They believe there’s a reason for that.

“High retail shopping, high number of apartment complexes and our bad guys know, they go to these large parking lots and they see vehicles,” Crowe said.

Their tactics include targeting certain vehicles.

“The bad guys tell us they even look for stickers on your car. Some people put stickers on their car proclaiming they have a gun or what brand they prefer,” Crowe said.

With Tennessee’s new permitless carry law in the books this year, police say gun safety training is important more now than ever as there are more guns are in cars and the streets.

“Every formal training class will talk about security and safety of guns and how to make sure they’re not stolen, or they’re not used in a tragic accident,” Crowe said.

MPD warns not to leave a gun loose, under the seat or in the center console but instead keep it in a car gun safe or using a locking cable.

They also encourage gun owners to record their serial number so they can track these stolen guns.