Chatham County, Ga. (WTGS Fox 28) -- Before you lock it and load it, Chatham County police want you to do one more thing: Save your gun's serial number.
Without it, you could be the next victim of a growing crime.
Since February, Chatham County police said they've recorded 90 stolen guns in unincorporated Chatham County. 50 were from cars and 40 were from other burglaries.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a big increase in the number of guns that have been stolen from unlocked cars. From burglaries and that type of thing," said CCPD Captain Daniel Flood.
He said a lot of these will be difficult to recover because they are missing the key to finding them.
“About a third of them don’t have serial numbers. They don’t record the serial numbers," said Flood.
That's why police are telling people to record their gun's information here.
You create a free account, type in the serial number and a description of the gun. You can also upload pictures of the gun along with any receipts. Then if your gun gets stolen, it'll be easier for police to track it down.
“You can tell us on scene, 'Hey my gun is logged into ReportIt with Leads Online,'" said Flood.
Once they know that, the police can take that information to help them search for the missing gun.
“We'll enter it into the system and if it’s recovered from another jurisdiction then when it’s entered into the system, then it’ll alert us that somebody else has located that weapon," said Flood.
He said it even helps at pawn shops.
“They try to pawn it somewhere else, then it’s gonna tell us, 'Hey, this weapon was pawned in New York City,'" said Flood.
We spoke with workers at JDX Inc. Uniforms and Indoor Gun Range. They said they also get calls from customers who don't keep proper records.
“They’ll call us because we would be the last ones before them to know that serial number," said Dean Yeomans, Uniforms general manager.
Police said they usually see a spike in gun theft during the holidays.
To outsmart the thieves, you have to think ahead.