SAVANNAH, GA – Savannah Police Department announced that 12 guns have been stolen from unlocked cars since the start of the year.
Police have been reminding the public for months, via social media, to lock their car doors every night. They say it should be a habit, just like locking front doors or turning off the stove.
However, according to SPD, 65 guns have been reported as stolen since January 1. That is almost two successful break-ins a day, and those are just the thefts reported.
Marvin Williams, Crime Prevention Officer of the Northwest Precinct, said “people walk through crowded parking lots and they just check door handles, and if a door handle is open, that means everything in here is mine to take”
Although it is legal for residents to keep a gun in their personal vehicle, Gerry Long, WSAV Crime Expert, told News 3 that it is not recommended.
“It’s not about choosing to take it with you because you’re concerned and you want to protect yourself. It’s about protecting all those innocent people out there that are now possibly at risk by being robbed or shot with your stolen gun,” said Long.
Officers recommend gun-owners take their guns inside their homes every night for protection. Police also ask if they insist on keeping them inside their cars, they secure their firearms in a locked glove compartment or bolted gun box. They also recommend community members register every gun, and record the make, model and serial number, to help police trace and return it if it is ever stolen.
Long said it is crucial that gun owners act responsibly to ensure that their weapons do not fall into the wrong hands.
“That is exactly how bad guys get guns. That’s exactly how teenagers get guns. It’s not necessarily a legally purchased gun by them, but it’s one that was readily available.”
Williams told News 3 that by securing their guns, family members are protecting what is most valuable.