Cold snap sparks spike in stolen vehicles

CPD warns not to leave cars running due to recent spike in thefts

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The cold weather snap is sparking a spike in crime in Cincinnati. Police say several people warming up their vehicles had their cars stolen.

Police say thieves are looking for an easy opportunity, so far this week more than half a dozen cars left unattended and running have been stolen.

It’s a crime they say that’s easily preventable.

Now they are sending out a warning not to leave your keys in the car and to keep all valuables out of sight. Police say it only takes a few minutes for someone to jump in your car and take off.

Police say during this time it’s not uncommon for a person to case a neighborhood looking for idling empty cars.

“Sometimes we’ll find people driving the stolen cars and our officers will try to stop them and there might even be a pursuit that goes with that can create a danger to the community," Lt. Steve Saunders, police spokesman, said.

“We have those type of situations evolve. A lot of times we find the cars abandoned and not in the best condition or sometimes the cars are sold outside of the city. Eventually we find the cars typically. That person is trying to warm up their car and do something in a small window to make themselves comfortable. Imagine the discomfort you’ll face if your car is stolen.”

Last month, a woman left her pickup truck unattended on Westmont Avenue and it was stolen with a 2-year-old in the back seat, according to police.

The child wasn’t hurt.

Now that it’s getting colder outside, police say the thieves are more desperate.

It is illegal to leave your car running unattended in both Ohio and Kentucky and you can be fined.

People often think that their car runs better once it’s warmed up, but police say that’s not necessary for newer cars.

“I know you want to warm your car up. I know you want to be warm and toasty when you get in," Saunders said. “They say it’s trying to help your car warm up the fluids and stuff, but I’ve been told the newer cars don’t really need that.”

According to the US Department of Energy, driving your car helps the engine reach its ideal temperature faster than idling it.

Police are also warning drivers to clear their windows and windshields completely after a snowstorm, another big issue this week.

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