ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) At Stoddard's Range and Guns, owner Ken Baye talks the need to lock up your weapon.

"Buying a pistol safe, is as important as buying a pistol," said Baye.

Just ask Atlanta Police.

"We're seeing more than double an increase in guns stolen from vehicles," said Sgt. John Chafee.

More than 1,000 gun thefts occurred last year, and so far 213 this year. But, the number of car break-ins, overall, has remained relatively steady.

The statistics leaves many wondering why.

The answer? Well, officers aren't exactly sure, but they point to a more vibrant downtown drawing people from the suburbs of metro Atlanta.

Georgia State crime analyst Dean Dabney put it this way, "If I come in from the suburbs and I feel unsafe, I'm going to bring my gun with me. If I bring my gun with me, I leave it in my car. If I leave it in my car, someone steals it."

And the thieves?

"They're not dumb, they know what they're looking for and they know the common places where its going to be left," adds Chafee. 

These thefts leave both the public and officers at a greater risk danger potentially involving death or injury.

"If a firearm is stolen from a vehicle, it's out on the street. It's in the hands of a criminal. That's something very concerning to us," said Chafee.

Baye leaves gun owners with this word of advice: "If you're keeping it at home you want to keep it away from children. If you're keeping it in your car, you want to keep it from bad folks who may have bad intentions."

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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