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January 11, 2011 > Cold Weather - Prime Time for "Warm-up Thefts"

Cold Weather - Prime Time for "Warm-up Thefts"

Submitted By Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD

Have you heard about warm-up thefts? The National Crime Prevention Council says car thieves may be on the prowl for your car during cold mornings.

During the cold winter months, area drivers may be tempted to warm up their cars while they stay warm inside. But cars left running, unlocked, and unattended are quick and easy targets for thieves. Consider the following tips so you won't be left out in the cold:

- Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when are away from it, even for "just a minute."

- Keep valuables out of sight or in the trunk. Purses, credit cards, and cell phones in plain view only help attract thieves.

- Always roll up the windows and lock your car, even if it is in your driveway, garage, or in front of your home.

- Never leave the registration or title in your car. If stolen, it makes it easier for the thief to dispose of your vehicle. It can also make you a target for identity theft. Don't leave or store these items in your vehicle. You are required by law to have the vehicle registration with you when you're driving the car, but you can accomplish this by making a copy and storing it in your wallet. At the very least, you can black out or remove your personal address while only leaving the owner's name visible on the registration document.

Your pink slip should always be kept in a safe place such as a home safe or safety deposit box and never in the vehicle. This can help protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft. In addition, while it doesn't happen often, a criminal who has your home address along with a garage door opener from your vehicle, may seek further opportunity to gain access into your home.

- Be alert when approaching your car, have a plan of action, and have your keys in your hand. Check around, under, and in your vehicle for suspicious individuals. Immediately leave the scene to get help if you have any concerns for your safety.

- Only park your car in busy, well-lighted areas.

- Install a mechanical locking device-commonly called clubs, collars, or j-bars-that locks to the steering wheel, column, or brake. If your vehicle has an alarm or other anti-theft device, use it.

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