SAVANNAH, GA (November 18, 2014): Metro police are concerned that tonight’s freezing temperatures will prompt drivers to leave vehicles running to warm up and are asking them to think twice.

Auto thefts are up in the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department jurisdiction and almost half of them involve cars that were left with keys in them, many of them running.

The first severe cold snap of the season is expected tonight and Wednesday morning when temperatures are expected to dip to the low 20s. That does not bode well on a school day morning.

“Most of us dislike getting into a cold car and leaving one running to warm up before heading off to school or work seems like a good idea – but it’s not,” said Metro Patrol South Major James Barnwell. “Thieves are looking for opportunities and a vehicle left running and unattended provides it for them.

“Cars will warm up more quickly when they are being driven. Just turn on the air conditioner, bump the thermostat up to heat and drive. The vehicle will warm up quickly. You’ll save time and the gasoline burned while the car was idling.”

Police also remind drivers to always remove valuables from vehicles, lock them and take all keys.