SAVANNAH, GA (January 6, 2015): Savannah’s coldest forecast so far this winter has  Metro police concerned again that drivers will leave vehicles running to warm up.

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

Temperatures are forecast in the low 20s Wednesday. It can be uncomfortable for those heading off to school or work.

“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.