PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) — A slight rise in car break-ins in Prince William County has the department is urging its community to take action to prevent the worst outcomes of the crime.

Speaking to DC News Now, Master Police Officer Renee Carr, the county police department’s public information officer, said the break-ins have resulted in stolen valuables, including firearms.

Carr said so far in 2022, larceny from autos is roughly on the same pace as they were in 2021 — perhaps just a bit higher. But she and the department are concerned about taking guns from the vehicles.

According to data shared by the Prince William County Police Department, there were 101 firearms stolen from vehicles in 2021 — an average of nearly two per week.

“We’re seeing all sorts of valuables being taken,” Carr said. That includes electronics and money, as well as guns.

To prevent that, police have a simple plea that could ultimately save lives. They offer an acronym — TLC — to help. Take your valuables; Lock your car, and Close your doors and windows.

“Really, prevention is the biggest thing,” Carr said. “And, if you see something, say something. Just give the police a call if there’s something fishy going on in the neighborhood.”

How often do the guns police never retrieve end up being used in a future crime? That data is only tracked federally. But even without knowing the hard numbers, Carr said it happens too often.

“We’d hate to see anything catastrophic happen in regards to some unnecessary crime or someone mishandling a firearm because they found one in an unlocked vehicle.

Virginia law states that if you legally have a gun, it does not need to be in a locked container when it is in a car with you. So if people leave their car and the gun is still inside, it often means one less layer of protection.

“What we encourage everyone to do is keep their firearm safe in general,” Carr said. “So putting them in your vehicle unsecured is not the safest way for them to be kept.”