Spokane Police: Don’t leave car unattended while warming it up

Michele Anderson, Public Safety Communications Manager 509.742.0063

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 11:10 a.m.

The Spokane Police Department (SPD) warns that leaving your vehicle running while unattended increases your chances of becoming a victim.

In prior years, SPD has seen an increase in stolen vehicles as a result of individuals leaving their vehicles unattended while warming them up.

“Locking your unattended vehicle while it is warming up is not enough to keep it from being stolen,” says Captain Brad Arleth. “It only takes a few seconds for someone to steal a car or truck that is sitting unoccupied. In addition, people are faced with the possibility of a burglary at their home as their house keys are often on their vehicle key ring.”

SPD receives reports of vehicles commonly stolen while left running and unattended at homes, gas stations, convenience stores and ATMs.

Arleth says the best way to approach cold morning commutes is to start the vehicle and remain with it while using a scraper to remove frost from windows.

Residents should also use the following tips to help prevent the theft of vehicles, which represent a relatively large investment for most people:

  • Park in well-lighted areas and always lock your car when it is unattended.
  • Never leave your keys in the ignition or elsewhere in the vehicle.
  • If you have a garage, use it rather than parking outside where your vehicle is more vulnerable.
  • Don’t leave packages, purses, electronics, bags/briefcases, automatic garage door openers, personal papers and mail or other items in plain view in your vehicle which can invite a break-in and lead to vehicle theft, home burglary and identification theft.
  • Never hide a second set of keys in your vehicle. Extra keys can easily be found, especially by experienced thieves who know the hiding places in vehicles.

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