Police stress importance of securing vehicles & firearms

Monday, July 29, 2019 - 1:34pm

Since nearly all the reported car break-ins in Wake Forest involve unlocked vehicles, police officials constantly plead with residents to lock their car doors. Now, those pleas are taking on an even greater sense of urgency. Since Jan. 1, 2019, the police department has received 65 reports of motor vehicle break-ins totaling $25,000 in stolen property - including nine handguns.

“Why on earth someone would leave their handgun or other firearm in an unlocked vehicle is beyond my comprehension,” says Lt. J. Morris of the Criminal Investigation Division. “People need to understand that when they leave a firearm in an unlocked vehicle they are inviting a criminal to take it. If owners are not comfortable storing firearms inside their home, then they should invest in a safe or locking device.”

According to a 2005-10 study by the US Department of Justice, approximately four out of five firearms stolen during such crimes are never recovered. In many cases, these firearms are used in the commission of other crimes.

Every firearm owner is responsible for ensuring that their gun is always under their control and when it is not, that it is placed in locked storage and out of sight. Additionally, a firearm should be stored in such a manner that it is inaccessible to children or other unauthorized persons. Hiding a gun in a closet, drawer or unlocked vehicle is not safe storage. Safe storage involves employing precautions and multiple safeguards that provide an additional barrier against unauthorized use.

Project Child Safe offers the following guidelines for the safe storage of firearms:

  • Unloaded firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case. The storage location should be inaccessible to children.

  • Gun locking devices render firearms inoperable and can be used in addition to locked storage. If firearms are disassembled, parts should be securely stored in separate locations.

  • Ammunition should be stored in a locked location separate from firearms.

  • Thoroughly double check firearms to confirm that they are unloaded when you remove them from storage. Accidents could occur if a family member borrows a gun and returns it to storage while still loaded.

In addition, cable-style locks should be used in addition to – not as a substitute for - safe firearms handling and storage methods. The lock is intended to discourage unauthorized access to a firearm, particularly by young children, but should not be considered a high-security device.

Making sure Wake Forest is a safe place to live and work requires the cooperation of the police department and the town’s residents. For more information about proper firearm storage, visit www.projectchildsafe.org/safety/safe-storage.