Cold weather emboldens car thieves in DC metro area

Cold weather emboldens car thieves in DC metro area

by -
0 1050

WASHINGTON, January 25, 2014 — At least one county in Maryland is reporting an increase in vehicle thefts that can be directly attributed to the cold weather. In what is believed to be the most common form of the crime, thieves steal cars that have been left on to heat up while vehicle owners remain indoors. According to police, many types of “remote start” vehicles, which can be turned on from a distance, are also susceptible to this type of car theft.

Last Tuesday, at the height of the weather phenomenon known as the polar vortex, Prince George’s county police reported that a minimum of four vehicles were stolen, all of them briefly unattended while owners remained indoors while the cars heated up. In most cases, the cars were stolen early in the morning, likely when the car owners were preparing to go to work.

“It’s cold outside, but whatever you do, don’t leave your car unattended,” said Officer Harry Bond, a spokesman for Prince George’s County police, to the Washington Post. “It only takes a few seconds for a thief to take you belongings inside the car or take your vehicle.”

Of course, leaving a car on to heat up is not only risky in terms of vehicle theft, it’s also illegal. Local police have been ticketing unattended vehicles with fines of nearly $70.

Experts at the Chicago Tribune believe that starting up a car before you are ready to drive it is a waste of time, saying “Many drivers use or are tempted by remote start devices that will allow the car to warm oil, clear windows and provide a comfy interior temperature.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests that whether via remote or actually climbing in and starting the engine yourself, letting a car idle to warm up hurts fuel economy.”

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2014 Communities Digital News

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities Digital News, LLC. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Correspondingly, Communities Digital News, LLC uses its best efforts to operate in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine under US Copyright Law and always tries to provide proper attribution. If you have reason to believe that any written material or image has been innocently infringed, please bring it to the immediate attention of CDN via the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Contact page so that it can be resolved expeditiously.

Rahat Husain
Rahat Husain has been working as a columnist since 2013 when he joined the Communities. With an interest in America and Islam, Rahat is a prolific writer on contemporary and international issues. In addition to writing for the Communities, Rahat Husain is an Attorney based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. He is the Director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA Advocacy. For the past six years, Mr. Husain has worked with Congressmen, Senators, federal agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy institutes, and academic experts to advocate on behalf of Shia Muslim issues, both political and humanitarian. UMAA hosts one of the largest gatherings of Shia Ithna Asheri Muslims in North America at its annual convention.