Cold weather brings reminder from WPD not to leave cars running unattended

WICHITA, Kan. With bitter-cold windchills announcing loud and clear that winter has arrived, Wichita police Friday morning hit the streets to look for people leaving unlocked cars unattended and running.

With the cold temperatures come opportunities for criminals when people start their cars to warm them up and then go back inside before they're ready to go.

It's tempting to do this, but police say the warmth isn't worth the risk. Thieves can strike quickly. In the City of Wichita, it is illegal to leave your car running unattended.

Wichita police officers with Patrol East Friday left notices on unattended cars running. Officers look for exhaust and check to see if the car is unlocked with the keys inside.

It's part of a project to remind people fo the risk associated with doing this and they believe in the future, enforcement efforts like this can prevent vehicle thefts.

"We routinely see eight to 10 percent of our vehicles stolen each year come from people leaving their vehicles unattended with the keys in it," says Lt. Chris McAuliffe with the Wichita Police Department's Auto Theft Division. "We're just educating you. Please don't do that. Please don't' make yourself a victim of an easy crime."

You can install a remote start in almost any vehicle, but if you have a key-turn start, it's best to stay with the vehcile while it's warming up.