As we brave the winter cold running errands or looking for that perfect gift, we may have left something inside our car which could make us a target for criminals.
Dept. Donny Parham from the Winnebago Co. Sheriff's Department says "That's the general trend during the cold winter months. People get into the habit of leaving their cars running so that they can warm up. Of course, car thefts occur causing a lot of crime opportunity."
Statistics show car thefts go up each year during the holidays. In Rockford car thefts occur more often commercial areas. In Winnebago County cars are stolen more frequently in residential areas. In Winnebago County 76 vehicles have been stolen. In addition, in Machesney Park 27 vehicles have been taken this year. Rockford's stolen car numbers are usually about four to five times higher than those in the county.
"A lot of these cars are being left open and running, but if you are going to do that you should have some remote starter or override switch so if someone was going to get into the vehicles and try to gage, it would cut off so they can't get in," says Parham.
So as we become more hurried in these final days before Christmas, remember if we're not careful our holiday cheer could disappear down the road with someone else behind the wheel of our car.
There is another reason not to leave our cars running and unattended. It isn't used often, but we could be issued a citation and a $75 fine for doing so.