The New York State Police Troop “B” Gun Investigation Unit reports 32 guns stolen in St. Lawrence County during 2012.
Troopers broke that figure down into 14 handgun thefts and 18 long guns stolen in 2012.
The total in State Police Troop B – which covers St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton, Essex, and northern Hamilton counties – was 141 stolen guns in 2012.
This information includes gun thefts reported to all law enforcement agencies within the troop.
Following a pattern described in the past, the majority of these guns were stolen from private residences during the summer and fall months, and a small number stolen from motor vehicles during hunting season.
State police said the 141 guns stolen in the North Country represents a 36 percent increase from 2011, when 104 guns were reported stolen.
Clinton County suffered the most stolen guns, 66 total, followed by Saint Lawrence County’s 32. St. Lawrence had led the North Country in stolen guns in 2010 and 2012.
In 2011, the Gun Investigation Unit reported, 44 guns were reported stolen in St. Lawrence County, making for a 37.5 percent decrease in the number of stolen guns in the county from 2011 to 2012.
The 2012 breakdown by county:
• St. Lawrence County – 32 stolen guns (14 handguns, 18 long guns)
• Franklin County – 13 stolen guns (5 handguns, 8 long guns)
• Clinton County – 66 stolen guns (15 handguns, 51 long guns)
• Essex County – 25 stolen guns (4 handguns, 21 long guns)
• Hamilton County – 5 stolen guns (0 handguns, 5 long guns)
Franklin County experienced a 50 percent decrease in the amount of guns stolen while Essex County saw a slight increase over last year. Hamilton County remained about the same as years past with five guns reported stolen.
Along with the increase in stolen guns, police are concerned about the inaccurate descriptions and lack of serial numbers for most long guns reported stolen.
In 2012, 73 percent of the long guns reported stolen did not include an accurate description and serial number. Without an accurate identification of these guns, law enforcement officials face considerable obstacles in investigating these thefts and readily identifying stolen guns when they are recovered, according to state police.
As a result, the state police are encouraging gun owners to protect their gun collections and to maintain an accurate and reliable inventory of their firearms. This includes recording the make, model, caliber and serial number of every gun in their possession and immediately providing this information to police should any gun be lost or stolen. For this reason, a gun inventory record should be stored in a secure location separate from the firearms.
The New York State Police works closely with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and recommends using a form distributed by ATF called a “Personal Firearms Record” to inventory your gun collection. This form can be found on-line at www.atf.gov ATF Publication 3312.8 or at http://188.8.131.52/publications/download/p/atf-p-3312-8.pdf.
You can also contact the New York State Police Gun Investigation Unit at (518) 897-2093 to request a free copy of the form or to report any suspicious gun activity.