Due to an uptick in car break-ins, the Wichita Police Department is warning gun owners to be vigilant when storing a firearm in their vehicles.
Wichita police say so far this year, thieves have stolen 78 guns out of cars throughout the city.
The break-ins have happened in retail parking lots, along city streets and in home driveways.
Sgt. Nikki Woodrow says if you have to leave a gun in a vehicle, take extra precaution.
"Have a lock box, have that extra safety measure, have a lock around your gun – that could be a major deterrent," she says.
Woodrow says a majority of the stolen firearms were handguns. Thieves are also breaking into cars to steal purses and electronics.
"Treat your vehicle as if it could be entered in a matter of seconds and take your property with you," Woodrow says.
Wichita Police say last year, 193 firearms were stolen from vehicles—up from 151 in 2015.
Kansas changed its gun laws in July 2015 to allow people 21 and older to carry concealed firearms without permits or training.
Woodrow says no area of the city is immune to this preventable crime.
"These weapons in the wrong hands can cause a very dangerous situation to society," she says. "So please, we urge you to take out personal property such as purses, handbags, electronics and of course, weapons out of vehicles when not occupied."
Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar
To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.