Guns stolen from cars starting to decrease, JSO urges more vigilance

#9PMROUTINE campaign making early strides

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The trend of guns being stolen from cars continues, but the campaign to remind residents of the 9 pm. routing may be starting to make an impact.

JSO started promoting the 9 p.m. routine after reports of car burglaries rose. JSO has been urging residents to make a trip to their car to make sure they have removed valuables, including guns, and locked doors, before going to bed.

As of Jan. 30, 36 guns had been stolen from unlocked vehicles. That number is up to at least 43 as of Wednesday, many being taken from unlocked cars.

According to information from JSO, there isn’t one particular area where the burglaries have occurred. Guns have been stolen from vehicles all over Jacksonville, from all types of vehicles, from vehicles that were locked and from those that were unlocked. JSO continues to urge residents not to leave guns in their vehicles.

JSO has posted humorous memes in the last couple of months by JSO. You may have seen one of these, all reminding to do the 9 p.m. routine. 

News4Jax crime and safety expert Gil Smith said not only should you not keep guns in your car, but simply locking car doors would really cut down on the number of car burglaries in general.

Smith says just about everyone in Jacksonville has likely had their car door handle checked. Maybe even several times. You just don’t know it, because if it’s locked, many criminals will keep going until they find a car that’s unlocked. 

Smith also said there’s no safe hiding spot for a gun in your car and there’s only one way he would recommend leaving one in your car.

"That’s very dangerous to do that unless you have it locked in a box," Smith said. "They do sell those separately, where you can buy a box with a chain and have a key where you can lock it in without the chain being cut. It’s a pretty thick chain."

JSO said year to date auto burglaries are down nearly 28 percent over last January, although not all of those burglaries include guns being stolen. Although that is an improvement, guns are still being stolen.

JSO will continue to share the memes in hopes of people doing the 9 p.m. routine and getting in a laugh while doing it.

Here's another reminder that leaving your gun in your car is a bad idea, whether your car is locked or unlocked. In the picture above, a truck was locked early Sunday morning, but two men still got into it by drilling a hole in the windshield. They stole several items including a gun from the center console. 

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