APD: 988 firearms reported stolen from vehicles in 2019

In 2019, 988 firearms were reported stolen from vehicles across the city, according to Atlanta police. 

They say 201 of those firearms were stolen from Buckhead alone. 

"It's frustrating because it's such a simple thing. just don't leave it unsecured," said Steve Avery, public information officer with APD. 

APD, along with other agencies have tried to get the word out about not leaving valuables or firearms in vehicles. The message, however, doesn't appear to be sinking in. 

The problem is much more widespread than just within city limits.

Last year, FOX 5 News reported on guns being stolen from cars all over the area, including Johns Creek, Cherokee County, Forsyth and Flowery Branch.

"If they steal something like a purse or something that your purchased in a store, like a sweater, that's not likely to be used in another crime in which someone can end up dead," Avery said. 

Atlanta police say criminals target cars specifically for guns even if the guns are out of sight.

In surveillance videos, you can see the criminals rummaging through glove compartments, center consoles or trunks.

"And it makes sense if you think about it. If you're someone who's ineligible to own a firearm, like a convicted felon, or you're underage and can't purchase a firearm," Avery said. 

Once criminals get their hands on them, Avery said the guns often wind up at the scene of a violent crime.  

"Leaving them in vehicles is an easy way to supply a criminal with the tools that they need to continue on their life of crime," Avery said. 

Police say make sure you know the make, model and serial number of your firearms in case your firearm gets stolen. 

Avery also suggests buying a lockbox or a safe and securing it to a vehicle. He said consumers can put your firearm in it if they find themselves in a situation where they have no choice but to put it in the car.