BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Officers with the Boynton Beach Police Department are trying to fix a problem.
“It’s frustrating. It is frustrating to every officer,” said Officer Denise Schrecengost. “They are going into the hands of criminals, and we knew we needed to do something.”
According to BBPD’s criminal analysts, guns are being stolen out of vehicles in Boynton Beach at an alarming rate. Oftentimes, reports show that the vehicle was left unlocked.
“We get that a lot where people say they forgot to lock it, but it is a little too late after you have done that and they have taken your gun from your vehicle,” Schrecengost told Contact 5’s Merris Badcock on Wednesday.
Last year, 40 guns were stolen from unlocked vehicles in Boynton Beach. This year, 49 guns have been stolen out of unlocked vehicles since Jan. 1.
To help combat the increasing crime trend, officers like Schrecengost are taking a different approach. On Thursday, BBPD began offering a limited supply of free gun locks to any resident who wants one.
“We purchased these gun locks, since a lot of people cannot afford to buy this stuff,” Schrecengost said, as she showed Contact 5 how to use the gun lock.
Officers still want residents to lock their cars, but this is one extra step gun owners can take just in case they forget.
“My saying is, and I say it often, ‘lock it or lose it.’ That’s the motto we use all the time,” said Schrecengost.
Boynton Beach residents can pick up a free gun lock at BBPD’s lobby at 209 N. Seacrest Blvd. while supplies last.
49 guns stolen from cars in the @cityofboynton since Jan. 1. We are giving away gun locks to city residents in ongoing effort to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. Be a responsible gun owner & keep your gun locked & in a safe if it must be in a car. #SaferBoyntonBeachpic.twitter.com/EGP1YlnADu