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Vehicles being stolen while warming-up?


As winter is approaching, there are many things we are going to have to adjust to. Some of which are including the awareness of stolen vehicles. There are many precautions we can take to avoid car theft. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau Report, Washington State is 3rd for the highest number of vehicle theft in America. The Communication Specialist for RPD, Claire Venema quotes:

“It’s not a good idea to leave your car alone while warming up.”

Venema says that since 2020, car theft has greatly risen.

“Really we’ve seen a steady increase since 2022 in that. Theft related to people stealing cars because they’ve been left running, the numbers are kind of here and there on that.”

“Normally, when we do recover cars, they’re not going to come back in the same shape they were taken in,” Venema said.

The owner of All City Transmission, Bill McDonald  say’s that there is no other way to to speed up the process of warming up your car.

“Keep your thermostats in proper working order, that they’re not open,” McDonald said. “Which will cause it not to warm up as fast. Keep your coolant full because when your coolant drops the first thing that takes the hit is actually your defrosters and your heater. It will blow cold.”

According to the Washington Law On Warming Up Cars, most cases of leaving your car unattended not on your property is illegal. Police officers remind drivers who leave their car unattended could face fines or car theft. As it is not illegal to warm up on your property, police highly recommend NOT doing this if you do not have a close eye while warming you car up. In the first couple months of the year, Washington State has had more than 21,000 vehicle thefts. This of which is ranking us right below the big states like Texas, Florida, and California. During the winter of 2022, there were many calls to the authorities about stolen vehicles in their driveway while. All of which were warming up and unattended. There were also 3 other car thefts that were taken in private driveways.

The revised Code of Washington states that a driver must stop the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key, and setting the brake.

Here are some other tips to stop vehicle theft:

  • Never leave your keys in car while running for “just a minute”
  • Keep your valuable out of sight and put away.
  • Park in a well lit area.
  • Always have your vehicle in sight when warming up on your property.


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