Bernie and Brandon were joined this morning on 'Acadiana's Morning News' by Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft and Holly Howat, Executive Director at Lafayette Parish Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee. Craft and Howat discussed the new 'Love It/Lock It' initiative launched yesterday by local law enforcement and organizations like the Lafayette Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee and the Lafayette Advisory Commission on Crime Prevention.

The meaning of 'Love It/Lock It is twofold. The first meaning is that you should lock up you possessions if you consider them valuable. The second meaning has to do with loving the Lafayette community by keeping guns kept in vehicles out of the hands of criminals.

Chief Craft discussed the high instances of criminals using guns stolen from cars to commit crimes in Lafayette and other areas

Just in Lafayette alone, 219 handguns and 19 rifles and shotguns were stolen out of unlocked vehicles. Those guns end up being used in other crimes. We’ve had examples where children have found a discarded weapon. Stolen guns are used to commit robberies, shoot other people, as in the case last year, shoot a Lafayette police officer. That was a gun stolen from an unlocked car.

Howat explained the origins of Love It/Lock It and its goal in the community

We realized it’s not just a problem in the city limits, it’s also a parish wide issue. We realize that it’s hard to change a habit. Research says it takes a minimum of 21 days to establish a new habit. We’re launching Love It/Lock It with a 21 day awareness campaign, partnering with KPEL and TV and print outlets to help us get the word out to lock cars. We’re also using social media, and asking if you see a post about Love It/Lock It, to please share it. You can go to the Lafayette Police Facebook page, Lafayette Sheriff's Department page, and the CJCC Facebok page, and like and share our posts. Help your neighbors and your communities to be safer. We all love Lafayette, let’s all lock it, and love Lafayette.

Craft also said that local law enforcement will share the number of gun thefts incidents with the public to show what effect the program is having. Additionally, Howat said that reports on incidents will include maps showing where gun thefts are occurring in the surrounding area.

Click the image to watch the full interview, which includes tips from Craft and Howat about better securing your home, cars, and firearms. Click here to visit the following Facebook pages to find posts to share on social media: Lafayette Police Department, Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Department, and Lafayette Parish Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.