Don't let your car get stolen while warming up this Winter, protect yourself with safety tips from BCoPD

Kaleah Mcilwain

As the temperature continues to drop with Winter fast approaching, the Baltimore County Police Department (BCoPD) is taking steps to protect residents against "Warm-Up Theft."

"Warm-Up Theft" is when a car that is left running and unattended is stolen. The BCoPD says this accounts for 45% to 50% of car thefts in Baltimore County during the Fall and Winter months. This crime takes place most often outside of homes, apartment buildings, and convenience stores.

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(Maryland VTPC/Twitter)

To help residents protect themselves BCoPD has put together a list of ways to prevent theft and safe alternatives for warming your car up:

  • Never leave your car running unattended.
  • In cold weather, warm up with your car: grab a hot cup of coffee, gloves, and a blanket. It shouldn’t take long – most cars warm up in a matter of minutes.
  • Park in an enclosed garage whenever possible.
  • Use a remote start if you have one, making sure the doors are locked and the keyless start fob is far enough away that the vehicle can’t be moved.
  • Lock your doors every single time.
  • Invest in a remote starter.
  • Look up auto-thefts in your zip code through the Baltimore County Crime Dashboard.
  • Review the top stolen cars in Maryland.

Remember that it is illegal to leave your car unattended on a public road, unless the engine started using a remote keyless ignition system and has been operating unattended for up to five consecutive minutes when the vehicle is not in motion.

Leaving your car illegally unattended can result in a ticket, $70 fine, and a point against your driving record. If your car causes an accident the repercussions are higher.

If you see any suspicious activity or have information about a stolen car you can contact the BCoPD at 410-307-2020.

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Journalist with a background reporting on local communities, now living in and reporting on the Baltimore area. Find me on twitter!

Baltimore, MD
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