Right now there's an uptick in guns being stolen from cars; a trending crime across the nation and right here in Southwest Florida.
According to new data analysis on average in cities that report crime data to the FBI - at least one gun is stolen from a car every 15 minutes.
A Fort Myers detective confirms police are seeing an uptick, especially within the last few years, of guns being stolen from vehicles, stating it mostly happens when someone doesn't lock their car.
Community members say whether or not they lock their doors, "if somebody really wanted to get into it they would break the window to get into it if the door was locked."
"People have broken into my car before," notes one resident, Jeremy.
You may think most people tend to lock the doors of their vehicles but the answers were surprising as a lot of people admitted that they don't.
"Because most of the time I leave my keys inside the car, and then I have to call AAA to come," says Luis Arroyo. "If I leave it open I can get in."
Fort Meyers Detective Carlos Ramos explains more and more vehicles remain unlocked.
"Criminals will wait for the best opportunity," Ramos said. "Never think that being in a safe place or assume it’s safe, that everything is okay to leave a firearm in the vehicle. Criminals never rest, they will find a way to commit the crime."
Detective Ramos explains how serious it is as law enforcement sees more guns stolen from vehicles and most of the time the doors were unlocked and people mostly give reasons such as, "I was in a hurry; I needed to get home; I was late for work.
"Mostly they just forget they have something to do, that they shift their focus on that specific thing and disregard they just left a firearm in there," Ramos said.
But FMPD says it's serious because you don't know where that gun could end up.
"It could be used in any crime it could be used during a robbery it could be used during a murder there are many reasons why it’s important to make sure we don’t leave firearms in a vehicle for that specific reason," says Detective Ramos.
FMPD says it's a crime of opportunity when one is stolen out of a vehicle and it's not safe to leave a gun in the car at all.
"It’s not safe for anybody. Even if you have a passenger, they might not know the firearm is there; they might start looking. You just never know; it’s never safe to leave a gun inside the vehicle," said Ramos.
If you had a gun stolen out of your car or home, FMPD says how important it is to report that information to the police immediately.
If you are a gun owner, make sure you know or have the serial number of your gun written down somewhere so you can give that information to the police to help with entering that number into the system.