Police: Don’t fall victim to vehicle theft

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 9:42 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Wichita Police Department says one morning habit makes you more likely to become a victim of crime. That’s leaving your car on and unlocked in your driveway. Lt. Scott Brunow says during the colder months, people leave their cars running to warm up in the morning. Last winter, thieves stole more than 500 cars because they were left running or unlocked with the keys inside. Lt. Brunow answers some questions about keeping your car away from criminals:

Can I use my remote start? Lt. Brunow says that remote start is a good option for cars that can be started and run without the key fob. He encourages car owners to make sure the car cannot be taken out of park without the fob. Lt. Brunow says if you’re going to use remote start, don’t keep your spare key fob inside your car.

Can I use a second key to lock my car? Lt. Brunow says thieves look for a crime of opportunity. “We had a teenager in custody on an auto theft case. And he had admitted that him and his friends would go out and just break into cars, and if they found the keys in the car, they would steal it.” They’re looking for your car running with the keys inside and the doors unlocked. If you use a second key to keep it locked, you’re still at risk of a thief breaking a window and stealing the car because it had the keys left inside.

Will my doorbell camera deter criminals? Although the Wichita Police Department doesn’t have proof that doorbell cameras deter criminals, Lt. Brunow says home burglaries have decreased in recent years as home surveillance system usage has increased. Lt. Brunow says some criminals will leave the property if they see a camera, but it doesn’t stop all of them. He says police are more likely to find the criminal if the victim has a video or photo.

My neighborhood is safe. Am I still at risk of theft? Lt. Brunow says there is no “safe” neighborhood. He says warming car thefts happen across the city in any neighborhood. “There isn’t an area that it doesn’t happen in, you know, so lock your cars, don’t keep valuables in them, and don’t keep your keys in them, and don’t leave your car running.”

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