ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — St. Petersburg police say as of September 2021, 230 guns have been stolen in the city.
"We're just asking folks to be a responsible gun owner," said Police Chief Anthony Holloway.
Holloway says that's more gun thefts than they had for the whole year in 2020. And he says more often than not, those guns are being pulled from cars.
He tells ABC Action News that the thieves are first checking to see if you've locked your car at all. If you haven't, they're looking for your key fob to steal the car. And if they find a gun inside, that's an added bonus.
According to Holloway, that bonus comes in the form of $300, the going street rate for a gun.
"So just imagine how much drugs you can get for that or 300 dollars cash," he said.
And he says those stolen guns are often used in shootings and other crimes.
"People don't know how to resolve conflict anymore. The best way to solve it is instead of you and I having a conversation, I'm going to pick up a gun and shoot you that's the way I'm gonna resolve this," he said.
For Holloway, a longer-term solution to help curb that violence is through conversations with kids about guns. And he says those conversations start with parents.
"You need to sit down and talk to your child and explain to them what that gun can do to your child and what it can do to their friends," he said.
But in the short term, he's calling on gun owners to be a part of the solution.
"Take that gun out of your car. It can save a law enforcement life or it could save you or a friend of yours' life because that gun can be used on law enforcement or someone you love," he said.