Police Warn Against Leaving Vehicles Running Unattended

Published on December 15, 2021


ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Police Department is warning against leaving vehicles running unattended and is sharing crime prevention tips to help combat auto thefts. During the month of December, the police department has investigated five reports of idling vehicles being stolen. In all reported cases, the victims were running short errands - such as picking up food or making a purchase at a convenience store – at the time of the motor vehicle thefts. That’s why it’s important to never leave the area while your vehicle is running, even for a short duration of time.

Help Prevent Auto Theft with these Crime Prevention Tips

Motor vehicle thefts are often crimes of opportunity with thieves taking advantage of unattended vehicles left running or with the keys inside. The Arlington County Police Department recommends following the below safety tips to keep your vehicles and property safe.

  • Remain aware of your surroundings and park in well-lit areas.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park. Double click the lock button on the key fob to receive a confirmation beep/chirp or pull on the door handle to verify it’s locked.
  • Do not leave your keys, key fobs, or valet keys in your vehicle. This includes keys to a secondary vehicle.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is turned OFF when leaving it unattended. Vehicles with keyless ignition systems can be driven for extended periods of time even if the key fob is not inside the car. Be sure to read your owner’s manual carefully and familiarize yourself with how to operate your vehicle’s keyless ignition system properly.
  • Keep information, such as the make, model, model year, license plate and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) easily accessible in the event your vehicle is stolen.

Report Criminal Activity to Police for Investigation

Arlington County Police officers proactively patrol Arlington’s neighborhoods to identify and prevent criminal activity. The department’s efforts are enhanced by the active involvement of members of the public. When the public calls to report criminal activity, they aid not only the police, but help make their neighborhoods a safer place to live and work.

Community members observing criminal incidents should contact the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222. If you see a suspect in your vehicle, do not approach them and dial 9-1-1 immediately.   

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