A shocking number of people are falling victim to car burglaries in Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties, according to new numbers obtained Friday by News4Jax.
A total of 5,568 auto burglaries were reported last year in the three Northeast Florida counties combined.
St. Johns County is a place known for growth and with that comes an increase in crimes such as car burglaries.
"In the past eight years or so, we've seen this is one of the No. 1 crime trends in St. Johns County," St. Johns County Sheriff's Office spokesman Chuck Mulligan said. "Suspects are looking not to attract a lot of attention. They don't want to have dogs barking. They don't (want to) have car alarms going on. They're looking for cars that are already unlocked."
Mulligan said there were 487 vehicle burglaries in 2018 in St. Johns County. Among those cases, 38 guns were stolen, but law enforcement officers recovered nine of them.
Although that recovery number may seem low, Mulligan said it has improved over the years.
"Law enforcement can share information through digital platforms, where we can see each other’s items through digital platforms," Mulligan said.
He added that crooks know that, though, and often sell stolen guns on the street, rather than pawn shops.
|Registered vehicles||Vehicle burglaries||Firearms stolen|
|St. Johns County||190,814||487||38|
Up in Duval County, there were 4,891 reports of vehicle burglaries in 2018.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, vehicle doors were unlocked in 2,266 of the cases-- nearly half. In 296 of those cases, a gun was stolen.
There were 363 cases in which a gun was stolen when car doors were locked and/or there were no signs of forced entry, according to JSO.
In Nassau County, there were 190 vehicle burglaries in 2018, according to the Nassau County Sheriff's Office. There were 11 guns reported stolen out of those vehicles. Five of the owners of the guns knew the serial number so that NCSO could trace them. One of the five was recovered, deputies said.
Nassau County deputies also noted a majority of the vehicles in the burglaries were left unlocked.
When News4Jax broke down the numbers to compare the two counties, there were 7.4 burglaries per 1,000 registered vehicles in Duval County, 2.8 burglaries per 1,000 registered vehicles in Nassau County and 2.6 burglaries per 1,000 registered vehicles in St. Johns County.
There were 7.4 stolen firearms per 100 vehicle burglaries in Duval County, 5.8 stolen firearms per 100 vehicle burglaries in Nassau County and there were 5.9 stolen firearms per 100 vehicle burglaries in St. Johns County.
Jacksonville police have been running an ongoing social media campaign, the "9 p.m. routine," to reduce that number. Police encourage people to remove valuables and guns from their vehicles, and lock car doors, before going to bed.