Law enforcement leaders from across Lafayette Parish launched an initiative Monday to persuade residents to lock their vehicles in an effort to keep stolen guns off the street.
The “Love It/Lock It” campaign was prompted by what Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft and others called an alarming number of guns making their way into the hands of criminals after being stolen from unlocked vehicles.
More than 400 guns were stolen from vehicles in Lafayette Parish last year.
In Lafayette alone, 219 handguns and 19 rifles and shotguns were stolen from vehicles in 2014, according to figures from the Lafayette Police Department.
“Right now, it looks like we are on target to have just as many as last year,” Craft said.
He said one of the guns stolen in 2014 was later used to shoot and injure an officer who was pursuing a robbery suspect.
“Once you put that stolen gun into the hands of a criminal, you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Craft said.
The 21-day campaign will feature social media posts and public service announcements.
The Lafayette Parish Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee organized the effort.