CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hundreds of guns are stolen from Charlotte cars each year, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Those guns are landing in the hands of criminals and can be used for dangerous crimes.
Officers said a cable on the gun that attaches to a car seat is one feature that will prevent gun thefts from cars.
Hyatt Guns in west Charlotte offered free gun safes to the first 100 people as part of a CMPD gun safe giveaway.
Franklin Benjamin took advantage of the offer.
"Having it locked up and safe is what is supposed to be done,” Benjamin said.
Police said 710 guns were reported stolen from cars in Charlotte in 2017, not counting many more that they said go unreported.
"Seven hundred ten firearms that could have been used in additional crimes,” CMPD Maj. Gerald Smith said. “Seven hundred ten firearms that could have potentially found their way into the hands of juveniles."
In November, police arrested five teens who they said went on a crime spree in east Charlotte, including two armed robberies, shooting at apartments on Eastway Drive and a chase.
Among the many charges they faced was possession of a stolen firearm.
"You can't go wrong in doing something that can protect the community in this way,” Charlotte City Council member Gregory Phipps said.
So far in 2018, 325 guns have been stolen out from vehicles.
Phipps, who came up with the gun safe promotion, said thefts are starting to increase again, which is why his team is spreading the message.
"It's a huge problem and these guns go right to the wrong place,” said Larry Hyatt, a gun shop owner.
If you weren't able to get one of the 100 free safes, the gun shop has ordered 10,000 of them. The safes only cost $10.99.
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Cox Media Group