This will only take a second...

It's a busy world, but in the time it takes to lock a car, a car left running can be stolen.

Walking into a fast food place I saw a guy park his car in a space near the door, exit quickly, and hurriedly trot inside. As I passed his car I noticed it was left running. Once inside, I told the guy that he had left his car running. He curtly answered that he knew and went about ordering food, quickly dismissing my attempt to be neighborly. My next thought, I should get the name of his insurance agent because he has got to have a better policy than I do.

Dry cleaners, convenience stores, coffee places, grocery stores, anywhere someone thinks they are just going to run in and out, you see cars left unlocked and running. I’ve even seen people leave their cars running at curbside with children strapped into safety seats. It just boggles my mind. What are people thinking?

A professional can steal a locked car in under a minute. An amateur can steal a locked car in less than five minutes. A child, with no auto theft experience, can steal an unlocked, running car in five seconds. How long does it take to get a nonfat no whip decaf mocha latte?

Most popular stolen cars in Maryland according to the NICB:

  1. Dodge Caravan 2000
  2. Honda Accord 1996
  3. Honda Civic 2000
  4. Ford Pickup (Full size) 2006
  5. Toyota Camry 2011
  6. Toyota Corolla 2010
  7. Ford Crown Victoria 1999
  8. Nissan Maxima 1996
  9. Plymouth Voyager 1999
  10. Nissan Altima 2002

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Leon Burger November 01, 2012 at 02:43 AM
It is unbelievable how many people leave their cars running while they pump gas or run in to get a coffee. A naive feeling of safety and security allows oportunists to make off with your car with little to no effort. Statistics show that up to 50 percent of the cars stolen have the keys inside and more than 25 percent were running and unoccupied when stolen. Thats more than 4000 cars stolen in Maryland each year that were running when taken. More concerning is that more than 30 percent of the cars stolen in Maryland are never returned to the owner. The economic loss to the family is never fully recovered and the embarassment could/should be paralyzing. Try telling your insurance company that you invited someone to steal your car.
Charlie November 01, 2012 at 10:59 PM
As an insurance adjuster I have probably had 10 cases in the last month that people left their keys in the car while pumping gas and in all the cases the thief's just acted like they were just walking by and jumped into the car after the person got done pumping gas. So do not leave your keys in the car while pumping gas! Also, note that if you leave your vehicle running and it gets stolen normally the key and the reprogramming of the keys and locks is not covered (that is really expensive!).
Bob November 02, 2012 at 10:59 AM
As an insurance investigator, I can tell you that thieves play on that naivete that you mentioned. The reasons that the Chrysler minivan is the most-stolen are because 1} it is easy to steal because of design and materials, 2} it is used to steal bikes/minibikes/quad runners/etc..., 3} multiple would-be thieves will pull up into a town home community in the morning and watch for the telltale white exhaust of vehicles that have been started to "warm up". I have worked multiple cases where 3 or 4 vehicles have been stolen at the same instance. REMEMBER...it is against the law in Md to start your vehicle and go off and leave it unattended. This is a safety issue, but will also keep you from facing the gut punch of coming out to find your second largest investment missing. Don't give thieves the chance.
IMNomad November 04, 2012 at 04:18 PM
I was a victim of this when I was younger at a time when I only had one car. I used to work night shift and my wife worked during the day. I parked the car out front and by the time I walked into the house and she walked out...literally far less than a minute...the car was gone. Taken by some kids who took it out for a joyride. Police officer was very upset and actually told me he could give me a ticket. Point being is that not only is it inconvenient, it could be dangerous. Your car could be used in a crime, or if you keep your house keys with your car key, you could endanger yourself and your family since the thief now has easy access to your home. Took a couple of days to find my car...the first time. Did not have time to change the ignition so the thief came back again, broke into my garage and took the car again because, of course, he already had the key. Found it a short time later...this time without license plates. You can imagine the incredible inconvenience of it all in trying to re-secure my life (new tags, changing locks, etc). I learned an extremely valuable lesson that day!! Resist the urge to leave your car running...even for a second...and always keep your house keys separate from your car keys!
Greg Mazzella November 09, 2012 at 11:26 PM
11/8/12-Baltimore man dropping off one child, leaves second child in running car. When he returned the car had be stolen with the child. http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/crime_checker/baltimore_city_crime/child-found-safe-after-carjacking


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