ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – As temperatures drop, police said the number of car thefts go up. Officers warn you to think twice about leaving your car unattended.
“This is one of those crimes that can happen to anybody, anywhere,” said Belvidere Police Chief, Shane Woody.
Ogle County Sheriff, Brian VanVickle, said it only takes a moment for a thief to target a car left running and unattended during the winter months.
“That’s the thing that most people don’t realize,” said VanVickle. “is it can be less than a minute and someone can be in your vehicle and gone.”
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, nearly a quarter of a million vehicles were stolen between 2017 and 2019. VanVickle said in many of those cases, the car was left unlocked with the keys inside.
“Primarily it happens two places,” said VanVickle. “Either at home in the driveway or at a gas station or restaurant, some place where somebody is going to run in real quick and grab their food.”
Belvidere Police Chief, Shane Woody, said the best way to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of car theft is to be aware.
“Pay the extra money and get the remote start. Make sure that you have another key. Lock the vehicle,” said Woody.
And never leave your car running or your keys inside the ignition when you are away from it. Even for a short time.
“Criminals are always looking for a victim,” said Woody.
Law enforcement said remote start options have a timer on them and shut your vehicle off after a certain amount of time, so it’s important not to leave your children of pets in a vehicle unattended otherwise they could become exposed to the elements.
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