22 December, 2009


With colder temperatures taking hold in DC, there’s something that police officers are on the lookout for: motorists who leave their vehicles running while unattended. In 2007, an estimated 6,200 vehicles were reported stolen in DC, according to preliminary statistics.

And while it is impossible to tell how many auto thefts are the result of running vehicles left unattended, national statistics show that more than 20 percent of stolen autos had the key left in the ignition. As colder temperature settle in, some drivers will be tempted to run their vehicle to warm it up, while they remain indoors. Other motorists may leave their vehicles running while they dash into a convenience store or other location. Their reasoning: they will be away from their cars for only a “brief” minute or two. In either instance, the practice is unwise, unsafe and illegal in the District of Columbia. Some auto thieves need as little as a
minute to break into and steal a vehicle that is locked and without a key. The time needed to steal a car that is unlocked, unattended and running is literally a matter of seconds. And under DC law, motorists who leave a motor vehicle running and unattended can receive a $50 ticket and the vehicle may be impounded. This cold-weather season, the MPD asks all This cold-weather season, the MPD asks all motorists to take appropriate measures to avoid being the victim of auto theft and to never leave their
vehicles running unattended.

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