It is getting extremely cold outside, and stolen autos once again are on the rise. This is the time of year when we see many people warming up their vehicles and leaving them unattended in driveways, parking lots and convenience stores. This type of crime is easy for a thief. Think about it: The vehicle has the keys in the ignition, the vehicle is unlocked and the engine is running. How easy of a theft would this be?
There are times when people need to warm up their vehicle and defrost the windows, but you should never leave your vehicle unattended while it is running and unlocked. If you find yourself needing to warm up your vehicle, try some of the following steps to help prevent your vehicle from being stolen.
• Stay with the vehicle as it warms up
• Have two sets of keys. Start with one and unlock with the other
• Stand inside and watch your vehicle as it warms up
• Use a steering wheel locking device while it warms up
• Invest in a remote starting system.
Many people fall into a false sense of security about this issue, believing their insurance companies will cover their vehicle if it is stolen. Keep in mind most insurance companies will cover your vehicle if stolen, but many of them exclude coverage if your vehicle was unlocked, with the keys in it and running.
Plus we have a city ordinance, No. 540, Sec. 107, that states “No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition and removing the key from the ignition.” So, with that being said, you might not only have your vehicle stolen but you could get a citation on top of it.
I know it is convenient and a lot easier just to start your vehicle and walk off, but it is just as easy for the thief to get in and drive off.
The process and recovery of a stolen vehicle can be difficult and time consuming. Better to be a little cold than to be left standing out in the cold.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!