New program to stop car warm-up thefts

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It seems obvious not to leave your car by itself when it’s warming up.

However, a lot of people aren’t getting that message, making themselves easy targets.

That’s why the Albuquerque Police Department is trying something different this year.

Public Safety Aides and Officers have been out and about on the streets in the morning, searching for cars left warming up by themselves.

“They’re knocking on doors. If they find a car that’s warming up, they’ll go knock on your door let you know ‘Hey, this is not a good practice. Your car could get stolen,’” said Simon Drobik of the Albuquerque Police Department.

Just Friday alone, officers talked to more than 50 people who could’ve been victims. They found 35 cars unattended with 18 of them unlocked.

APD says locking the doors while the car warms up isn’t any better.

“Even if you lock your car with your keys running, they’re going to get into it,” said Drobik. “They want that car, they’re going to get in. They’ll smash the window because you just utilized putting your keys in the car they can go steal that car.”

Police say there’s a simple solution to all of this. Sit inside your car as it warms up. It’s something Joseph Abeyta, of Santa Fe, says he does every morning.

“I’ll listen to music and just chill out for a little bit until I see the little arrow on my warm up on my car get warm and then take off from there,” said Abeyta.

APD says if you don’t want to do that then spend a couple hundred dollars to get an automatic starter installed in your car. It’s better to drop the money on that rather than on a new car.

APD hopes its new program will make a dent in the warm-up thefts. It’ll take seeing numbers after the cold weather is behind us to know for sure.

APD says if this program warning people about warm-up thefts proves to be a success, they will continue it throughout the year.

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