A Sheriff from Jacksonville, Florida says guns stolen from cars have contributed to violent crime in the area and calls on gun owners to safely lock their vehicles and bring their firearms inside their homes.
“Not only are you creating an issue for an officer who has to come and write a report because you left your car unlocked, but you may have contributed to violent crime in our community,” Sheriff Mike Williams told the Florida Times-Union.
“The person who stole that gun is going to sell it, trade it or get rid of it, and it will be a crime gun in this community or some other community,” he continued.
Such was the message Williams was trying to spread when he and other officers went door to door in a Jacksonville neighborhood last week talking about safe gun storage practices.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, over the past two years 1,000 guns have been stolen from unlocked vehicles in the Jacksonville area. Last month, there were nearly 400 auto burglaries reported, and of those burglaries, there were approximately 30 cases in which weapons were stolen.
The Florida Times-Union reports that in 2015 Jacksonville had 563 firearms stolen from cars and ranked second only to Atlanta in those statistics.
“Criminals will go down the path of least resistance,” said Williams. “So the place where there’s no lights, no alarms, cars are unlocked, that’s where they go.”
“And that’s not an anti-gun message,” Williams continued. “It’s a responsible gun ownership message. We’re going to continue to pound that message home until we get some better results.”