ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Cars stolen from driveways is a crime Albuquerque police officers now say is a constant problem. However, police want drivers to know they can easily keep themselves from becoming a victim.
In the morning hours, more and more cars are disappearing from driveways.
“It’s happening all over the city,” explained Albuquerque Police officer Tanner Tixier. “There’s not a part of town that’s safer than the others.”
It’s something the Albuquerque Police Department has been warning people about lately. APD has a new campaign about the crime spike on Twitter. Police have even gone door-to-door to warn people with cars warming up in driveways.
“If that was a bad guy, their car would have been gone,” said officer Tixier.
Still, police say people aren’t getting the message. In December, APD took calls for 76 cars stolen while warming up infront of someone’s home. To date, just in January, there’s been 69 reported warm-up thefts in Albuquerque.
“That’s 145 completely preventable crimes that have occurred over the past two months,” said Tixier.
“Wow that is amazing,” said Kallie Kuehl, an Albuquerque driver. “That’s certainly higher than I would imagine.”
“I’m shocked,” Steve Schroeder told KRQE News 13. Schroeder said he warms up his car remotely almost every day. However, Schroeder said, his vehicle is able to stay locked while it’s running.
“I think ultimately technology may solve that problem,” said Schroeder. “Right now you gotta be aware, you gotta be careful.”
APD now sends tweets, letting people know where the warm-up thefts are reported each morning and to be on the lookout.
The topic is become a morning trend. A popular morning radio show, Jackie, Tony & Donnie on 100.3 The Peak now includes the police warm-up theft warnings during their traffic report.
“Somebody is out a vehicle already happened about 15 minutes ago, so the count begins,” show hosts announced on 100.3 The Peak. “This vehicle was left warming up in the driveway and it is now gone.”
The warnings usually include where the thefts happen and a description of the stolen vehicle.
The response from the community to the recent stolen cars is frustration both with thieves and drivers leaving their cars unattended.
One person tweeted, “Hey APD…Do you have the urge to tell ppl they’re idiots?” Another said, “I think @ABQpolice must have writers cramp tweeting about all the cars stolen while warming up.”
APD officers share in the frustration. “That’s an officer we’ve got to send to your house that’s taking away from other calls for service,” said Tixier.
Police urge drivers to brave the cold in their cars for a few minutes, rather than take the risk of losing a vehicle completely. “It’s gonna be a lot colder in the morning if you have to walk to work after your car’s been taken,” Tixier added.
If someone’s car is stolen while it’s warming up, police said that is not a number one priority call for police. An officer will come take a report, but they’ll likely respond to more pressing crimes first.
Tixier said police believe the stolen cars are likely drug related, but they don’t have evidence to suggest there’s a specific crime ring doing this.