CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston police have seen a big jump in the number of guns being stolen from cars in the city.
"The vast, vast, majority of thefts from cars, in the City of Charleston anyway, were from cars that were unlocked in the first place," Sgt. Trevor Shelor of the Charleston Police Department said.
In 2013, the department had around 50 reports of guns being stolen out of cars, but in 2014, there were more than 80 and about half of the time, cars were unlocked.
"That's over 80 guns out there in society that shouldn't be," Shelor said. "You've armed a criminal that will go and rob a convenience store or sell it to a drug dealer or something like that and we need those guns to stay in the hands of the rightful owners for those guns."
Shelor said it's tough to track how many crimes are committed with stolen weapons because many times the gun is never found, and that most of the thefts aren't downtown.
"The more you go out into the suburbs, the more people feel more safe and complacent," Shelor said. "We're glad they feel safe but don't get complacent. We are there to provide for your safety but it's up to you to provide for your security."
Shelor says it's also important to keep guns secure in the house so children can't get to them or they're not stolen in a burglary.
He says the Crime Prevention Office is available to speak to neighborhood associations on the issue.