Auto Theft Prevention

Julie Humphreys, Public Safety Communication Manager, 509.622.5868

Friday, November 13, 2020 at 5:41 p.m.

SPD reminds you NOT to leave your car running in the cold weather or leave your keys inside

Spokane Police have seen an increase in the number of vehicle thefts during the last week. Leaving your keys in your car and leaving it running is an open invitation to car thieves and increases the chance of your vehicle being stolen.  Of 31 stolen vehicles for the week of November 1st – 7th, 11 had keys inside and/or the car was left running.

SPD in conjunction with the Spokane Regional Auto Theft Task Force encourages you never to leave your car unattended when warming it up – it’s not only unwise, it’s illegal on streets and other public spaces, always lock your doors, remove your keys from the ignition or console, don’t hide a second set of keys in your car, close your windows completely, don’t leave valuables in your car in plain view, and park in well-lit areas. 

Other precautions you can take to avoid being the victim of a car theft include; use of a visible or audible device such as brake and wheel locks, install a vehicle immobilizer like a kill switch, and invest in a tracking system. Tracking devices are very effective in helping law enforcement recover stolen vehicles. Some systems combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.  Most newer vehicles have this capability, however, if the car/truck is not registered by the owner it’s extremely difficult for law enforcement to activate the system.

The 2017 most stolen cars in Washington state include late 1990’s model Honda Accord, Civic, and CR-V, Ford Pickup (full size), Subaru Legacy, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Camry (1991).  The 2019 National Insurance Crime Bureau ranking of metropolitan areas for their per capital auto theft rate, showed Spokane County ranking 57th in auto thefts - per 100,000 residents. That is down substantially from 4th highest in the nation in 2011.

The SPD Patrol Anti-Crime Teac (PACT) focuses on vehicle thefts along with other crimes and their increased pressure in this area has resulted in significant decreases in vehicle theft in the city of Spokane. If citizens do their part in taking steps to thwart vehicle theft, together we can continue to positively impact crime numbers.

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Julie Humphreys