The RCMP initiated Operation Cold Start This week.

They're reminding vehicle owners not to leave their cars running with the keys inside.

The goal is to prevent crimes of opportunity, where car thieves are given access to an unlocked, running vehicle, and potentially access to the owner's garage or house.

It was originally scheduled for last week, but the warmer weather meant that people weren't leaving their vehicles running to warm up.

Detachments across Alberta are taking part, including the Okotoks RCMP.

Detachment Commander Zane Semaniuk says idling vehicles take up a significant amount of total vehicles stolen in the province, even here in Okotoks.

"In Okotoks, there were 26 vehicles stolen last year and of those 26, seven were taken while idling on a roadway or the driveway, or they had the keys left in the vehicle."

An estimated 25 per cent of Alberta's stolen vehicles are stolen while idling with the keys in the vehicle.

RCMP officers will be keeping an eye out for unlocked idling vehicles, and giving a friendly reminder to owners.

Semaniuk reassures locals that officers won't be rummaging around vehicles or even opening doors. So far, they haven't even had many opportunities to give those friendly reminders.

"We don't go into the vehicles, it's just getting out and talking to people. It's 'can we see the keys in the vehicle, can we tell if it's locked?' It's getting out and talking to people. So far, the compliance rate has been sky-high. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we haven't been able to talk to a whole bunch of people because the compliance rate is so high."

This is the second year for Operation Cold Start, and according to Semaniuk, there's already a noticeable improvement in Okotoks.