For most people, their morning routine consists of warming their vehicles in preparation for their morning commute, however, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office is seeing an increase in vehicle thefts because of this.
There has been an increase in property thefts from unlocked vehicles and stolen vehicles because residents will often leave their keys in their vehicle to warm it up in the morning.
“One of our big issues has been car theft,” said Sheriff Ken Furlong. “Warming vehicles leads to auto theft, especially when you leave your belongings in clear view.”
The Sheriff’s Office has dealt with nearly 200 vehicle or vehicle property calls this year. Furlong said these numbers are even with 2015 numbers, and both years have seen a 38 percent increase since 2014.
“This happens not just at home, we see it regularly where the victim leaves their running car to warm up, goes inside, comes out and it’s gone,” Furlong said. “Leaving your keys in the ignition with the doors unlocked is the worst thing you can do.”
In many cases, the thefts are a crime of opportunity.
“We rarely see vehicles damaged in Carson City because they have been broken into, most likely the door or the window was open,” Furlong said. “People walk down the street and see it and act on it.”
Furlong said they see a variety of scenarios when suspects take or attempt to take a vehicle, including fights, damaged property, or even just the hassle of a vehicle ending up in a different part of town days or weeks later.
“Typically the vehicles do get recovered but it is very problematic,” Furlong said. “The impact on you and your family can be significant just because you let your vehicle warm.”
Though Furlong said there’s a simple solution: lock your doors and don’t leave it warming unattended.
“Just those two things will have a significant impact on the future,” Furlong said.
Furlong also advised residents to use or purchase self-start key fobs so vehicles can begin warming without leaving keys in the ignition, or sit in your vehicle while it warms.
“It won’t take but five minutes and your engine will be warmed up,” Furlong said.