July is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, and Virginia State Police want drivers to be careful this summer not just on the road, but off the road too.
In 2016, there were 9,575 motor vehicle thefts. 3,523 of them occurred between June and September.
The problem? People don’t take their keys with them. According to the Virginia State Police Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program, one in four vehicles stolen in Virginia have the keys inside.
First Sgt. Steve Hall said drivers should avoid complacency when it comes to their cars, because of how quickly a car can be stolen.
“A lot of people think, ‘I’ll only be in the store for a minute, so I’ll just leave the car running,’” He said.
“Don’t do it. It takes very little time for someone in that situation to jump into your car and drive off.”
The department also advises to keep good habits when leaving their vehicles, including encouraging drivers to not leave spare keys in the glove box or anywhere else in the vehicle. They said drivers should lock their doors and close windows.