SAVANNAH, GA (October 7, 2014): Approaching cooler weather prompts a reminder from Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police for drivers who might leave cars idling to warm up:

Don’t do it!

“Each year about this time, auto thefts increase because drivers – often parents preparing to take students to school – leave cars idling with heaters on to warm them up for the drive,” said Central Precinct Capt. DeVonn Adams. “Everyone likes a warm car. Thieves like it, too, because it makes it easier to take the car.”

Police have noted a marked increase in vehicle thefts in which keys are left in cars and in many cases the cars are left running with no one inside them.

“We understand the convenience factor,” said Metro Police Chief Julie Tolbert. “But that slight convenience of not having to turn the car off, take the keys, lock the car and then restarting it will be profoundly overshadowed by the inconvenience of losing the car, dealing with the lack of transportation, tons of paperwork and even an increase in insurance premiums when the car is recovered or replaced.”

Tolbert also pointed out that the vehicle will warm up much more quickly while it is being driven than left idling.

“I know most drivers think they will only be away from the vehicle for a minute, but it takes only seconds for someone to enter and drive away,” she said. “The issues the vehicle owners will deal with after that can be unbearable.”

Metro has joined hands with multiple neighborhood associations and community organizations as well as the Savannah Parking and Mobility Services Department to accentuate the importance of locking all vehicles, removing all items of any value from sight and taking the keys every time the vehicle is left.