As the weather grows colder, it may be tempting to leave your car running unattended while it warms up.

Corporal Blair Schneider with the RCMP says this is a risky habit that could invite auto theft.

"Auto thefts can occur any time of year, this time of year typically we start seeing more theft from vehicles than outright auto theft, but auto thefts do happen. It's mainly because of the cold weather, people start their vehicles and they let them run unattended to warm up and just a fraction of a second later, their vehicles are gone."

According to Schneider, those who leave an unoccupied idling car while shopping, without a remote starter or "command start" function, may also encounter this problem.

"Or people leaving their vehicles running when they go to a store, saying 'I'll only be gone for a minute', and they leave their vehicles running... that's a bad, bad practice. Don't leave your vehicle unattended, ever. Even if you're gone for a minute, shut it off, lock your doors, it's not going to cool down too much if you're only gone briefly."

With the holiday season fast approaching, Schneider also cautions anyone that leaves valuables in their car, to get them out of visible sight, whenever possible.

"Typically we start to see an increase in theft in motor vehicles particularly when the Christmas season starts. People are out shopping, they go to malls and stores and keep valuable items such as jewelry in their car. It's best to keep anything you buy locked in your car, or to just bring the valuables home and continue your shopping later."

Schneider says it's not uncommon for thieves to "scope out" visible targets.

"What happens is people come by in the middle of the night, they check doors, they look inside with flashlights. If they don't see anything, out of mind, out of sight. They'll typically leave you alone and move to the next vehicle."

 

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