84 guns stolen from cars in 1 month, JSO says

Jacksonville police: 7 of 84 guns taken from unlocked vehicles

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There were 771 auto burglaries reported in the month of August alone, and less than 20 percent involved forced entry, according to new numbers released Tuesday by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

In the nearly 800 auto burglaries, 84 guns were stolen out of vehicles last month, including seven guns taken from unlocked cars, the Sheriff's Office reported. 

"Over 80 percent of the cars were left unlocked. People are still not locking their cars," said Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst. 

This summer, gun sales skyrocketed in Florida after the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Background checks conducted by the FBI totaled 1,853,815 in August -- a 6 percent increase from August 2015 -- which can be an indirect correlation to increased gun sales. 

But according to the Sheriff's Office, it doesn't have a problem with how many guns are being purchased, but where gun owners are leaving them.

No matter how well people think they can hide a gun in their car, Smith said, take it inside because all it takes is one time to forgot to lock a car door. 

"There's no noise being made so no one is attracted to the burglary. So they're quiet. They just unlock the door, take their time and just rummage through the car, searching everywhere," Smith said. 

According to an investigation by the News4Jax I-TEAM last year, Jacksonville had the most guns recovered that were tied to crimes across Florida. 

Smith said that's all the more reason for gun owners to guard their firearms closely and take them out of vehicles altogether. 

"If a gun is stolen, report it. That way they can keep track of it in case it was used in a crime and they know it was a stolen weapon, also," Smith said. "It does happen quite often. People who are brazen enough to burglarize a car, will also come at other types of crimes with the weapon."

Police urge gun owners to be responsible by removing firearms from their vehicles and locking doors.