CPS to start seeking Calgarians who are warming up their unlocked cars

Dec 12 2019, 10:18 am

The Calgary Police Service will be checking city streets for cars left running to warm up before morning commutes as part of the newly relaunched Operation Cold Start.

According to a release from CPS, a total of 4,546 vehicles were stolen in just the first nine months of 2018, many of which had their keys left inside.

The week-long operation is in its fourth consecutive year, first being launched in 2016 as a way to educate Calgarians on the dangers of leaving their vehicles unlocked, running, and unattended.

Not only is your car at risk of being stolen, the release states, but it also puts others in danger, as drivers in stolen vehicles are much more likely to drive recklessly, and to use those vehicles to commit other crimes.

“This is our fourth year running Operation Cold Start and many Calgarians seem to be getting the message. However, we still continue to see warm-up thefts occurring on a daily basis during the winter months,” said Staff Sergeant Graeme Smiley of the CPS District Support Unit in the release.

“We are asking citizens to help us reduce the number of auto thefts by using a remote starter or staying with their vehicle while it warms up. We know that car thieves are out looking for vehicles that are easy to steal and we need the public’s help to take this opportunity away.”

Police are asking that Calgarians be vigilant when warming up their vehicles, and have supplied a list of tips for keeping themselves, their cars, and everyone else safe from would-be thieves.

  • Never leave a running vehicle, where the keys are in the ignition, unattended.
  • Never leave running vehicles, where the vehicle has been started with a keyless ignition or push-button start, unattended.
  • Use a remote starter whenever possible and keep your vehicle locked.
  • Use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves.
  • Never leave spare keys or garage door openers in or around your vehicle. Always lock the person door leading from a garage into a residence.
  • Never leave children or pets in a running vehicle.
  • Do not leave valuables, including identity documents and bank cards, in a vehicle, under any circumstances.
  • If you witness a crime, such as a vehicle being stolen, call 9-1-1 and provide as much descriptive information as you can. Never approach a suspect or pursue a stolen vehicle.

A total of 80 vehicles were stolen after being left running in November alone, and police warn that over 41% of stolen vehicles that are recovered were damaged or involved in a collision.