Colorado Springs police say they believe auto theft is a growing trend and a crime that's on the rise. But they can’t pinpoint the reason why.
We’re told the crime happens an average of four times every 24 hours in the city. That’s why police are reminding all drivers to take precautions.
Auto theft is a crime that haunted many in our own community just this week. 11 News reported stories of at least seven cars stolen.
“It's happening and it's very concerning, going out any more at all,” said concerned driver Connie Cox.
Some were even taken from unexpected places, like a senior center. One was stolen from a 79-year-old woman.
"It's just such a weird feeling...you know where you parked, but your car is not there,” said Annie Koester.
While some of the thefts happen when no one is looking, others are at gunpoint. This week two victims were carjacked with a gun in just four days.
"My initial reaction is to slam the door on him, but when you see the gun, you just say okay,” said Marilyn Ager. “"He had my purse, he had everything in my car. You're standing in the middle of the road, and I go oh well, I can't call.”
It’s a growing trend that is concerning police and drivers alike.
“Daylight or night, it doesn't matter, they are getting more brazen by the day,” said concerned driver Steven Cox.
While people say it won’t stop them from driving, they will take precautions.
"I don't feel like I'm in danger...I lock my car all the time and I set the alarm and I also don't keep anything in it,” said Carol Monness.
Springs police are being more proactive with all the car thefts. They have a special unit whose job is to solve stolen car cases.
Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) say that January, March and August have the highest rate of auto thefts.
Here are some good rules they recommend all drivers follow to prevent auto theft:
• Never warm up your car unattended!
The exhaust that puffs out of your tailpipe is a sign thieves look for during the winter, making you an easy target.
• Lock your doors!
It’s the number one thing that will prevent auto theft. If the doors are locked, it’s harder for a thief to break in and steal your car.
• Think twice about where you park your car.
Park in well-lit areas at night. Park near the entrance to a mall, building, office or wherever you are.
• Invest in an anti-theft device.
Steering wheel locks, steering column collars, theft-deterrent decals and audible alarm systems.
The Not-So Obvious:
• Never leave your wallet in your car.
Don’t even leave it in your glove compartment when you go to the gym. If a thief steals your car, and has your wallet, it’s easier for him to break into your home or even steal your identity.
• Think twice about leaving your garage door opener in your car.
This item, paired with your address, which can be found on many items (mail, registration, etc.), is a dangerous combination. It gives the thief your address and an easy way into your home.
• Take personal items out of view.
Remove anything valuable from plain sight – laptop, phone, keys, handbag, mp3 player. These items make your car an attractive target for auto thieves.
• Don’t leave personal information in your car.
You car’s registration has your address on it. Any mail you might have lying around – utility or credit card bills – has your address and possibly social security number or personal account information. Leaving this information in your car gives a thief your address and leaves you vulnerable to home burglary and identity theft.
To learn more about how to prevent auto theft and what to do if you car is stolen, visit their website: