ROCKFORD (WIFR) – With the extreme cold this past winter, it might have been easier to leave your car running when heading into the grocery store, but one police task force says that probably was not the best idea.
According to the Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force, 5% of the cars stolen in 2013 were with the owner’s own keys. The group, led by Sergeant Mark Galindo held a town hall meeting at the NIU campus in Rockford this morning to get the word out to the public on what to do to prevent having your car stolen.
"The number one thing being to prevent motor vehicle thefts in this area, actually in any area, is to not leave your vehicle unattended and running, keep track of your keys, lock your car doors,” said Galindo.
"So it's a little more tempting for people 'I'm just running into the gas station to pay my bill' or 'I'm going to grab a coffee or a cup of pop or something.' It's pretty easy for you to say 'I'll just leave my car running' and you do that, but it's pretty clear to show that almost half the time, that's going to result in an auto theft,” said Winnebago County Chief Deputy Kurt Ditzler.
Since 2011, the total number of thefts has dropped by nearly 30% in the city of Rockford, but is slightly rising in rest of Winnebago and Boone County.