CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Looking ahead to the holidays and a busy shopping time next week, police departments around Chatham County are making sure you hear the warnings about leaving valuables in unlocked cars.
It’s still an ongoing issue in the unincorporated parts of the county, but its getting better.
Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said campaigns like “Lock It or Lose It” appear to be having an impact, with entering auto cases falling nearly ten percent compared to this time last year.
From yard signs, to officers canvassing neighborhoods and parking lots looking for unlocked vehicles, the message is hitting home.
But there's one alarming trend that continues, and that's guns being stolen out of unlocked vehicles.
CCPD posts theft from auto cases regularly on their Facebook page, and earlier this month they highlighted one instance where three pistols were taken out of one vehicle.
So far this year, 68 guns have been taken out of unlocked vehicles. That number is up from 52 stolen guns this time last year.
“To leave a loaded weapon, or weapon, in an unlocked vehicle is absolutely absurd to me. And it’s irresponsible as a gun owner to do so. I hate to have to say that, but I’m just going to be blunt. It’s just irresponsible," said Chief Hadley to Chatham County Commissioners during his bi-monthly crime report at Friday’s meeting.
Chief Hadley pointed out the stolen guns are out in the community now, either being sold, or potentially being used to commit other crimes.
July saw the highest number of stolen guns out of unlocked vehicles at 17.