GREENSBORO, N.C. — Some Greensboro repair shops have reported that they are responding to claims of more cars with gunshot damage and they say the trend is concerning.
One shop owner said he has seen "a larger than necessary increase in cars with bullet holes." He added that over the last six months to a year, they have repaired at least 5 cars per month.
The management at Mid-Town Body Repair in Greensboro reported that they have repaired an average of six to eight cars with bullet holes in the last two months.
"Anywhere from random shootings to drive-bys in the neighborhood to actually targeted vehicles from either robbery or trying to steal the vehicle and they're shooting the cars up quite a bit," said Travis Reittinger, of Mid-Town Body Repair.
Reittinger said his shop normally fixes bullet-related damages in one or two cars a year.
However, that number has gone up this year according to Reittinger. Some of his customers were in their car when the bullets hit while others woke up to see the damage to their property.
"The craziest one we've seen is a brand new 2020 Challenger. It had well over 15 to 17 rounds fired through it. Luckily, the victim was able to get away and survive but he did get shot," Reittinger said.
"It [bullets] went through the headrest, the steering wheel, the back glass windshield, it had kind of over 17 rounds into the car, it was really a target job on that one," he said.
He also said that he was surprised none of the bullet hole repairs were linked to deadly shooting investigations. Especially with the type of weaponry involved and the number of bullet holes in some cars.
"These bullets are going through the vehicles and some of them [are] high-caliber rifles and anywhere down to your 9mm handguns," Reittinger said.
One car that's currently undergoing repair in his shop belonged to an elderly woman who he said was traumatized by the incident and he hopes to see the gun violence come to an end.
"People just aren't being cautious with their weapons and they're meant to protect yourself not shoot up the neighborhood. It definitely keeps you thinking about the city and where we're going and how it's going to be for the future," he said.
Many police departments do not breakdown data of gunfire damage specific to vehicles. According to police, the reporting classification of this sort of crime and for tracking purposes is 'aggravated assault/assault gun' and could include homicide or vandalism.
According to the Greensboro Police Department, 'homicide with firearm' increased by 71% with 41 so far this year to date, compared to 24 recorded in 2019. 'aggravated assault with firearm' has gone up by 15% at 1716 so far in 2020, versus 1491 last year. Cases of related 'destruction of property' also went up by 7% with 2331 recorded so far in 2020 compared to 2174 for the previous year.
According to the High Point Police Department, as of November 16, there were 215 cases of 'aggravated assault/assault gun' in 2020. By this time in 2019, the department recorded 198, which amounts to a 9% increase. The department has seized 361 guns so far in 2020.