With temperatures now dipping into the teens, the Fifth Precinct sent the following information as a friendly reminder: do NOT leave your car running unattended with the key in the ignition!
Every winter, we see people doing this to warm their vehicles. However, this is an extremely easy target that results in many auto thefts every year. Not only is this a huge hassle for the vehicle owner, it can also be expensive.
Did you know?
It’s illegal to leave your vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition while on a public street/alley. You could be ticketed under City Ordinance 478.160, even if your vehicle is stolen in these circumstances. (Note: remote starters do not violate the ordinance as they do not leave a key in the ignition. If the vehicle is on private property, the ordinance also does not apply but we still recommend not doing it because of thefts.) More info: go.usa.gov/cjyBY ; goo.gl/voG5Ym
Recovered vehicles are brought to the Minneapolis Impound Lot, where fees accrue by the day. The owner will have to pay to retrieve the vehicle. If the owner doesn’t get the vehicle in 15 days, it could be sold at police auction. More info: go.usa.gov/cjyRF ; go.usa.gov/cjVDj
What to do if it’s stolen/recovered:
If your vehicle is stolen, call 911 to report it.
If you later find your vehicle, call 911 to report that you recovered it! That is VERY IMPORTANT because if your vehicle is still listed as stolen, you could be mistaken as the car thief when you are driving it around. This could result in you being stopped at gunpoint.
Recommendations to prevent auto theft:
Aside from not leaving the keys in the vehicle, we also recommend that you treat the garage door opener in any outside vehicles like a key to your home. Especially if there is a vehicle inside the garage, and keys to any vehicles will be accessible. Do not leave the garage door opener visible, and lock doors of vehicles parked outside.
Find a lot more tips and information on prevention of auto theft at SaferCar.gov/theft and go.usa.gov/cjyAJ
We understand how cold it gets in winter and the temptation to warm the vehicle before getting inside, but there are many risks that go along with this due to the opportunity that a running vehicle provides. In short: It is never worth it to leave your vehicle unattended with the key in the ignition! Locking your doors will not help. If your key is in the ignition, the suspects can break the window or otherwise gain access and still steal the vehicle.
This alert is sent by Fifth Precinct Crime Prevention. For crime prevention questions, contact CPS Jennifer Waisanen (612-673-5407 or Jennifer.Waisanen@MinneapolisMN.gov). Find more crime prevention resources at go.usa.gov/cjyvA. We wish you a safe and happy winter.
To Protect With Courage
To Serve With Compassion