SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals can be as easy as making sure yours are locked up.
That's the message from Chatham County Police following a number of car break-ins where guns were one of the targets for thieves. The burglaries happened last week on Wilmington Island.
While an exact number of guns wasn't given, it's always a cause for concern for police who are trying to make sure guns stay out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them.
Police have already identified a man as a person of interest in the investigation, and they want you to give them a call if you know who this is. As for the stolen guns, Chatham County Police are hoping to track those down before they're used to harm others.
"Many times, what we often find is how these weapons get put out onto the streets and utilized in other crimes. At times, unfortunately, shootings and homicides and things of that nature," said Chief Jeff Hadley, Chatham County Police Department.
Chief Hadley says they need the public's help, though.
In last weeks burglaries, police report all the victims' vehicles were unlocked.
At the beginning of February, Savannah PD tweeted that 12 guns have been stolen from vehicles in the city. That number is up to 17, with 11 taken from unlocked cars.
From the county perspective, Chief Hadley says it's going to take public awareness and a partnership between police and neighborhoods to stop these crimes of opportunity.
"If we can have that cooperation with our residents in the unincorporated area, just being a little more mindful, a little more cognizant of what they're doing as they go home for the evening and locking all their stuff up. I wish we could live in a world where we didn't have to do that, but that's just not the case," Chief Hadley said.
The chief strongly encourages any gun owner to take their firearm out of the car at the end of the day. If you don't, make sure your car is locked and that the gun is secured and locked in place.