GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Police Department says automobile theft continues to be a significant issue in Kent County, especially as temperatures drop. As residents begin starting their cars and leaving them unattended to warm up, the “cold weather car thieves” come out of the shadows.
“We are often dealing with groups of individuals, who roam around with the express interest of stealing cars. They may steal them to just joy-ride or they may use them as a means to perpetrate other crimes, such as robberies,” said Sergeant James Wojczynski of the Combined Auto Theft Team. “We also see owners leave their parked vehicles unlocked with keys and fobs left inside. This makes it far too easy.”
From Oct. 2019 through Oct. 2020, over 1,200 vehicles were stolen in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming, according to GRPD. In just the last three months, 213 vehicles have been stolen in Grand Rapids alone. GRPD says automobile thefts in Grand Rapids are up 37.5% from 2019.
GRPD has released the following tips for preventing automobile theft:
- Never leave your car running unattended, for any amount of time.
- Use a remote starter if available, making sure the doors are locked and the keyless fob is far enough away so that the vehicle cannot be moved.
- Lock your doors, every time.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Invest in anti-theft technology, such as an alarm system or a steering wheel club.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle, such as computers, purses and firearms.
GRPD also reminds residents that leaving a vehicle running and unattended is a City of Grand Rapids Ordinance Violation. A violation of the ordinance is a civil infraction and is punishable by a fine.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.