GREENSBORO, N.C. - Thieves are stealing guns right out of cars, and they're doing it at an alarming rate. Already this year, it's happened more than 180 times in Greensboro, and police say that is nearly 40 percent higher than last year.

When it comes to anything valuable left in your car, Greensboro officers want you to think like a criminal. You wouldn't want to valuables in plain sight on the backseat, or even under a jacket. And when it comes to guns, it doesn't matter if the car is locked. If it's visible - thieves will go to work.

“[If I were a criminal,] I will look and I if see that rifle or shotgun, I'm going to look at that as saying here is my opportunity to get it,” said Officer Greg Kiser with GPD, as he demonstrated what thieves are looking for, “It's not going to take me but two seconds to reach in there and grab it.”

He says only barrier stopping a firearm from getting into the wrong hands is a pane of glass - and that really isn't much.

This year alone - police say there have already been 182 reports of guns stolen out of cars. This time last year, there were 132 reports.

“We’re not talking about just a pistol. We had shot guns, we've had assault rifles, we've had several that I can think of off the top of my head where multiple guns have been taken,” said Kiser.

It happened to Bradley Delk just a few months ago.

“They stole a gun out of my center console,” he said, “What really just bothered me is that they are in our neighborhood that are supposed to be a safe and a really nice place to live and just kind of invaded our space.”

Police say there is a trend of thieves targeting hotels and full-sized pickups. GPD recommends you lock up and keep guns out of your car, but if you do carry one in your ride - consider getting a safe.

“If you are one that wants a firearm in your car for personal safety, there are those that will do a palm reading or a fingerprint scan,” Kiser said.

Bottom line: thieves are going to look through your car windows. So, don't give them more of a reason to break in.

GPD says there's already a big problem of stolen firearms on the streets, and with many of these guns stolen from cars still unaccounted for - it's only making the problem worse.