Norfolk Police report increase in car thefts after drivers leave vehicles running while unattended

NORFOLK, Va. - If you've been letting your car warm up in the driveway in the morning unattended...you might want to reconsider.

The Norfolk Police Department is reporting an increase in car thefts for the first half of January and they say the cold weather might be behind it.

In all, police say 40 vehicles were stolen between January 1 and January 16 and the city's CrimeMapping service shows it's happening everywhere.

"In over half of those, the vehicles were left running unattended or another set of keys were left inside," said Officer Daniel Hudson. "It is a convenience to go outside and warm up our vehicles, however, it only takes a second for someone to steal our cars."

Stolen vehicle reports in Norfolk, January 1-17

To put that number in perspective, police say 69 vehicles were reported stolen the entire month of December.

Virginia Beach is also seeing its own increase.

Police there say 38 cars were stolen between January 1 and January 16, ten of which were likely left running. That's more than double the 17 cars stolen in the same time-frame last year.

"Don't think that just because you lock your door and you have another set of keys that your car is safe. Your window can be broken," said Officer Hudson.

Norfolk Police say 23 of the 40 vehicles reported stolen have been recovered and that a couple of arrests have been made.

If you want to warm up your car, police say the best option is to sit in your car the entire time and to never leave it unattended while on.

It's also important to keep the doors locked at all times.

If you have any information regarding vehicle thefts, call the Crime Line.