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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say that car and house break-ins are down, but far too many guns are stolen as a result of those crimes.

I do have a gun safe. I have two as a matter of fact, said Carl Chandler, who was shopping in Hyatt Gun Store Wednesday afternoon.

Experts believe that if more gun owners had safes, the streets would be safer.

The crooks generally can t purchase guns in the legal fashion doing the background checks and following the rules, so they try and get their guns outside of the rules, which would be by a break-in. No gun owner wants their gun to be stolen and then used in a violent crime, said Mitch Hyatt of Hyatt Guns.

He says that gun sales are up for the holidays, but he s also noticed that more gun owners are interested in safes to protect their investment.

We ve seen a very consistent growth in the sale of safes, really over the last five years, the last three or four years especially, he said.

Gun safes vary in price from more than $3,000 for a top of the line home model to $20 for a basic handgun model that can be chained inside of a car.

This particular one here is a push button; enter your secret combination, the door pops right open,

Police say that unlocked drawers, closets or glove compartments should never be thought of as good enough.

I m retired law enforcement and safety for guns is a basic part of my thinking, said Chandler.

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