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Don't Make Yourself an Easy Auto Theft Target

Chilly weather has hit Western Washington, and we face the prospect of a whole frosty winter ahead. This time of year, Police see a disturbing upturn in the theft of cars left warming up unattended. In the past week, there have been five such cars stolen in the City of Renton alone, almost half the total auto thefts during that period. An unattended car left idling is an open invitation to a thief. Auto thieves can see the car’s exhaust from blocks away, and even have street names for such cars; they call them “steamers”, or “puffers”. It doesn’t matter if the car is in your driveway or just outside your door, and it doesn’t matter if you’re only away from it for a few seconds; a thief can take an idling car so quickly that they don’t even worry about the risk of being caught in the act.

Another reason that thieves are so bold is that many are under the influence of drugs, and this increases the risk to public safety. One of the cars stolen this week was involved in a collision as the thief fled in it, and during his later capture he collided with yet more cars. The ultimate costs in these crimes can be even higher. In 2006, a Renton man left his car warming up just outside his apartment door. He interrupted a thief stealing the car, but was struck and dragged under the car as the thief drove it away. The victim was found dead on the scene, and his murderer is serving a seventeen year prison sentence for the killing.

Keep your car from getting stolen, and help keep everyone safer. Don’t let your cold car become a hot car this winter. For more, watch.