From January 1 - June 6 of this year, 121 firearms were reported stolen from vehicles across Chattanooga. That's an average of five guns every week.

Police say their biggest worry is what happens when those guns get in the hands of criminals.

"These guns are in high demand for being stolen and they are being used to commit murders throughout the city," says Investigator Nick Hayes with the Chattanooga Police Department.

Police say the negligence of some gun owners has resulted in increased crime across the Tennessee Valley.

 

"They are robbing businesses, they are going in and holding people up, they're doing carjackings with them, they're breaking into people's houses," said Investigator Hayes.

David Smith the owner of Dave's Shooting Supply tells his customers to lock up their firearms-hoping to deter criminals.

Smith says criminals can steal a gun from your car easily if it is not locked up.

"It's very, very quick. It doesn't take 15-20 seconds to do that because it's only going to be in a limited place; the side box, under the seat, or in the glove box and they can find your firearm," said Smith.

In the case you do have to leave your gun in your car, David says for $30 you can buy a SnapSafe Lock Box, allowing the firearm to be secured.

"Time is essence. They aren't going to sit there and try and jiggle this thing to open it up. They are going to go on to somewhere else, because it will take too long, and they will get caught," Smith told Channel 3.

Customers at Dave's Shooting Supply were shocked by the amount of guns stolen from cars this year in Chattanooga.

"It's hard to imagine they can take that many guns from people's cars," said customer Mike Daniel. "It astounds me that people don't lock their cars better."

He hopes gun owners will start taking more initiative by not just locking their guns up, but taking them inside.

"If you got it for home protection, you need it in the house. You don't need to leave it in the car at night," said Daniels.

Chattanooga police say 60% of all reported stolen firearms in Chattanooga were stolen from vehicles.