From the Harford County Sheriff’s Office:
The Harford County Sheriff’s Office Auto Theft Unit will once again be conducting proactive investigations beginning November 5, 2013 and continuing randomly throughout the winter months to raise public awareness for people who leave their vehicle’s engine running and unattended.
Sgt. Dawn Wolf, Supervisor of the Sheriff’s Office Property Crimes Unit, says members of the Auto Theft Unit will be conducting targeted enforcement while members of the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Patrol will conduct random patrols of shopping areas, convenience stores and residential communities looking for vehicles left running and unattended. “We understand it is convenient for people to leave the engine idling and run into a store for a quick errand or cup of coffee”, Wolf said, acknowledging that everyone has done it at one time or another. “But while making it convenient for yourself”, she said, “You are also making it very convenient for the thief who wants to steal your car”. Wolf explained people often assume the car is taken for a joy ride and it will be recovered within a few hours and only a few miles away. However, she says, that isn’t necessarily the case anymore. “While statistically 52% of the stolen vehicles are recovered”, she explained, “The reality of the remaining 48% that are not recovered is that they most likely have been chopped up and sold for parts”. “It prompts police to ask drivers if the convenience is really worth it”, Wolf added.
Sgt. Wolf said, national auto theft statistics report nationally a car is stolen every 44 seconds in the United States. In Maryland, which ranks among the top 10 states in the country for auto theft, a vehicle is stolen every 15 minutes. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 50% of the vehicles stolen had their keys left in the vehicle”, she said.
“Maryland law prohibits drivers from leaving a vehicle unattended until the engine is stopped, the ignition locked and the key removed”, Wolf said. Police can issue a traffic citation to any driver found in violation and if found guilty could face a fine of $70 and one-point on their driving record. Wolf offers that citizens should use common sense when parking and leaving your vehicle. She recommends:
– Take your key; don’t leave it in or on your vehicle.
– Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
– Park in well-lit areas – in a garage, if possible.
– Never leave valuables in your vehicle, and if you do choose to leave them in your auto, then place them out of sight.
Its a damn shame that law enforcement resources have to be allocated to stop people from doing a completely stupid thing like this. It shouldn’t take an officer to tell you to turn off and lock your car. The hcso has better things to do and I would put money on it that the people doing dumb s*#t like this also bitch about police and taxes paying their salaries. This is what officers have to deal with, people lacking common sense and when assigned to this detail, they will have to deal with complaint after complaint because an officer has to tell them it’s not a good idea to leave a vehicle standing and unlocked.
Hmm that have these things on cars called auto start. It also locks your doors and only runs for 15 or 20 mins. No keys are in the car and if someone were to get in the car and touch the brake pedal the car shuts off. Just another Baneism and his NAZI regime
Vietnam vet says
As stupid is Stupid does. How about spending some time on a crack down on Handi Capped parking. you can’t find a parking place at Aberdeen Wal mart.
Because every body is Handi capped. just watch them when they get out of there car’s. They would make a Kentucky race horse proud & young people too.
JoeBlowNotFrom Idaho says
AAAAAAnd of course the police don’t leave their cars running either
Across the Bridge says
Take a look in a patrol car next time you’re near one and look at all the electronics that are running inside while they are on duty. They are sometimes left running because they don’t want to come out and find their car dead and have to get it jump started before being able to go to an emergency call. Their cars have an anti theft device that would prevent you from breaking the window and driving away anyway. The intent of the law is to prevent auto theft. So if you have an auto start that shuts off when the brake is pushed or something similar then I don’t see the harm and would venture a guess that most police wouldn’t either.
Well said!! Thanks for being an intelligent person, unlike a lot on this site.
The officers are the big offenders letting their vehicles run while at the Abingdon WAWA and the tax payer pays for the use of Gas.I guess this is different then the average Joe.If a car gets stolen with keys in that’s their own stupidity and they should not get anything from the insurance company
Of course if they didn’t as stated above, when a call comes in their batteries could be (and probably would be) dead and now the call has to wait to get handled. Citizens complain no matter what the cops do so most of them just do their jobs, pray they go home at the end of a shift and ignore peoples petty complaints.
A little insite to the “life and times of a police officer”… You leave it running and locked. You also leave it running because patrol cars have so many electronics in them and they’re used so much sometimes they have a hard time starting. Furthermore, if a call comes out, you want to be able to get in and go, computer, radio lights and siren all ready to work as opposed to trying to start it up and nothing work. It’s not an excuse, it’s cold, hard facts.
Hedley Lamarr says
How about this Sandi, install a separate battery system that the electronics run off of, that would pay for itself in no time on the gas saved, or could it be that people like you want your car toasty in the winter and cool in summer db.
What’s next, if you don’t have bars on your windows and doors to prevent break-in’s you’ll get fined, too easy to go after the law abiding citizen vs the thugs.
Police package vehicles already have a separate battery, and upgraded electronics, heavy duty alternator, and a host of other things. Still does not help. In many cruisers, however, there is a kill switch where the engine will continue to run without the key in the ignition. Read the article, open your eyes, and then say, “Aha!” When you figure it out.
Remote start on many vehicles is not a violation.
If you are leaving your car running, keys in the ignition, door unlocked… Then you are not “law abiding”, so your argument is invalid.
The ridiculous part about this is that the ticket, fines, and point all apply even when your car is warming up on your own property.
Yeah, because the thug who wants to steal your car won’t go onto your private property. Must be a new rule for criminals.
It’s okay to kill someone, so long as it is on private property. It is fine to smoke crack, as long as it is on private property.
Hell, if that is the case I should just quit my job now and retire since no crime ever occurs on private property.