The New York State Police Troop "B" Gun Investigation Unit announced late last week that it recovered 102 stolen guns in northern New York in 2010.
Troop "B" includes Clinton, Essex, Franklin, St. Lawrence and northern Hamilton counties.
The guns were recovered following reports of thefts to law enforcement agencies within Troop "B".
The majority of the guns were stolen from private residences during the summer and fall months, with a small quantity stolen from motor vehicles during hunting season.
Although the total remains high, the amount of guns stolen in 2010 actually decreased slightly from 2009, when 117 guns were reported stolen.
Records indicate that Franklin and Clinton counties experienced a significant decrease in the total amount of guns stolen last year, while St. Lawrence County saw an increase and led the North Country with 63 guns reported stolen.
Those totals are attributed to three individual residential burglaries in which a total of 36 guns were reported stolen. Through a combined effort, the New York State Police and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Department were able to make arrests in connection with the three burglaries - eventually recovering 31 of the stolen guns.
Police say that despite the decline in stolen guns last year, they are still concerned about the inaccurate descriptions and lack of serial numbers for most long guns reported stolen.
"The theft of firearms is a significant concern for law enforcement and for the general public," officials said in a prepared statement. "Gun owners are encouraged to protect their gun collections and to maintain an accurate and reliable inventory of their firearms."
That includes recording the make, model, caliber and serial number of every gun in their possession and immediately providing the information to police should any gun be lost or stolen.
Police also recommend that gun owners create an inventory and store it in a secure location, separate from the firearms.
According to reports, less than 40 percent of the long guns reported stolen to law enforcement in 2010 included an accurate description and serial number.
Without an accurate identification of these guns, law enforcement officials say that they face considerable obstacles in investigating thefts and identifying stolen guns when they are recovered.
The New York State Police Troop "B" Gun Investigation Unit works closely with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and recommends using a form distributed by ATF called a "Personal Firearms Record" to create an inventory of a gun collection.
A closer look at the numbers shows that 15 guns were reported stolen in Clinton County last year - six were recovered.
In Essex County, seven guns were reported stolen and two were recovered. In neighboring Franklin County, 14 guns were reported stolen and just one was recovered.
St. Lawrence County had 63 reports of stolen firearms - 31 of those were recovered. Finally, in Hamilton County, three firearms were stolen and none were found.