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 say 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.

Major Art Littlejohn, with the Spartanburg Police Department, says crime statistics will always have its 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 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, in September of 2021 that number was up to 104. This year, there were 121 crimes against people in the month of 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, Major Littlejohn says 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 says that is part of the reason we have these spikes.

“Over and over we find guns that are stolen from vehicles,” said Major Littlejohn. “Every 1 out of every 5 cars that’s 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.

Kyle Marlow, manager at T&K Outdoors, says 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. “Make sure that car is locked whether you’re in your driveway for 5 minutes.”

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

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office says there appears to be an increase in violent crime this year compared to last year, in the county.