Salt Lake City police: ‘Idling cars make great Christmas presents for criminals’

Posted at 7:27 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 21:27:58-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Twelve days after police in Salt Lake City first issued an alert warning Utahns not to leave their vehicles idling to warm them up, the police department states 21 vehicles have been stolen while they were left running.

Salt Lake City Police Department also stated Wednesday that in the last four weeks, there has been a 31 percent increase in total stolen vehicle reports.

The original press release about idling vehicles states that, each year, the department takes more than 300 reports of stolen vehicles where the vehicle was left running or when the keys were left inside. Police say that cold weather leads to an increase in people starting their vehicles and leaving them running unattended to warm them  up.

However, the release notes that a city ordinance prohibits idling within city limits for more than two minutes–with an exception for defrosting windows and when the temperature is below 32 degrees.

In addition to air quality concerns, police stated idling cars are a, “perfect opportunity for car thieves to take your car. Already the number of stolen vehicles reported in November have increased 13 percent from the month before.”

Wednesday’s release noted 21 more cars had been stolen since the original press release was sent December 4, and it stated that police would be offering updates on preventable car thefts daily via Twitter and promoting #DontGiveYourCarAway.