Cedar Rapids police say auto thefts on the rise - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids police say auto thefts on the rise


Cedar Rapids police say they have seen a steady increase of vehicle thefts over the last three years.

Sergeant Cristy Hamblin says the department has taken 144 reports of stolen vehicles in 2013, 49 of those have come since June 1, 2013. Hamblin adds that in 2011 they had 102 reports of stolen vehicles through the end of July and 132 through the end of July 2012.

Hamblin says in 2013, a vehicle is stolen about every 35 hours, compared to the U.S. average of about one every 33 seconds.

Police say vehicles have been stolen from every quadrant of town and have mainly been taken from residential areas. They say most have been left unlocked with the keys inside.

Here is a list of reasons police have heard for leaving the keys inside a car:

1)      I keep my spare keys in the car in case I lock myself out.

2)      I left my keys in the car as I wasn’t planning on driving it today.

3)      But I keep my keys well hidden in the vehicle.

4)      I keep my keys in the car as it saves me time when I’m late for work.

5)      I keep my keys in the ignition so I don’t lose them.

6)      But I was only gone for 5 minutes!

7)      It’s never been a problem before!

8)      But it was in my driveway/alley/on my street.

9)      I leave it unlocked with the keys in it so I can change clothes faster.

10)  I can start it quicker if I leave the keys in the ignition.

Hamblin says that fortunately, 87% of the vehicles stolen in Cedar Rapids have been recovered. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says only 57% of stolen vehicles are recovered nationally.

Police offer some simple tips to keep your vehicle safe:

- Do not leave your car running if you are not in the vehicle

- Lock your car doors

- Do not leave the keys in your vehicles

- Do not leave anything of value in plain sight

-Park your car in your garage with the door down and locked

- If your garage is full, park in the driveway when possible

- If you do not have a driveway, park close to your house, in well lit areas. Periodically look out the window and watch your car as well as your neighbors vehicles. 

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