New York, NY—In the first week of the New Year, car thefts are on the rise in New York City. Indeed, the Commanding Officer of the NYPD's 17th Precinct, Captain Aaron Edwards, posted to Twitter that as of January 4, 29 cars have been stolen. It’s an alarming trend, since the number of car thefts in 2020 were up by nearly 4,000 compared to 2019.

According to Captain Edwards, the breakdown of the 29 cars stolen through January 4 are:

  1. One car with the key Fob in the car.
  2. Four cars with the key in the ignition.
  3. 24 cars left running.

The increase in the thefts compelled the New York City Police Department to produce a short video that featured a driver who left his car running outside a pet shop in Brooklyn with his dog, Calvin, and a key fob in the car. When he exited the pet shop, his Audi was gone.

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Jessica E. Corey of the New York Police Department’s Crime Prevention Division says in the video that 40 percent of the cars stolen–2,109—are either left running or have the keys in the vehicle (This is for the time period between January 2020 through September 2020.)

“Often people don’t realize that if they leave their car running, and they take the key fob with them, that the car may still be able to be driven away and can even be driven hundreds of miles,” said Ms. Corey.

The individual featured in the video, who was also featured in a recent New York Times story, Zach Sobel, thanked the NYPD for recovering the vehicle.

“They were able to coordinate with Audi and track the location of the vehicle. They ended up finding the vehicle with Calvin inside and thank god he’s okay,” said Sobel.

“Usually when a car is missing like that or gets stolen, the chances of finding the car are extremely, extremely low, so I got extremely lucky that they were able to find the car.”

In the New York Times story, the reporter notes how the key fob led to a decline in car thefts after the hot-wiring heydays of the 1980s and 1990s when it was first introduced in the market. But now that drivers are leaving them in their cars, along with other keyless technology, car theft is again on the rise.

The NYPD’s Ms. Corey implored the public to take their keys with them.

“Remember, never leave your car running, never leave your pets in the car, never leave your children in the car, never leave your valuables in the car. Turn it off, lock it and take the keys.”

The video can be watched via https://bit.ly/3bo5z7H

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