Extreme cold weather causes concern as car warmup thefts rise

Feb 11, 2016 | News

The Scarborough Bluffs in the winter. (Morgan Gallagher)

The Scarborough Bluffs in the winter. (Morgan Gallagher)

Gabrielle Austin

People in York Region are being warned to remain cautious of car warm up thefts due to the cold weather.

Warm-up thefts are when a driver leaves their car running, usually in their home driveway, for a short period of time.

In Toronto and in York and Peel regions these crimes occur in the morning between 6-8 a.m., Const. Jennifer Bujan told Humber News.

She warns that criminals have various ways of committing this crime.

“It can be just driving around and looking for people, it really depends on the type of criminal,” adds Bujan.

Drivers are often not aware of their own surroundings especially if it’s their own neighborhood.

Although less than a dozen thefts normally occur in a year, the OPP “Lock it or lose it” campaign warns people to always be cautious and prepared if they become victims of this.

Cold weather is the main reason behind these thefts right now and with frigid temperatures on the rise.

Toronto Public Health on Thursday issued an extreme cold alert for the city with the temperature sitting at -10 C but feeling more like -18 C.

Environment Canada’s forecast suggest that frigid temperatures will remain throughout the weekend with a low of -16 C.

Meteorologist and Global News Weather Specialist Ross Hull says “it’s a bit of a shock considering how mild it’s been this winter.”

Toronto Public Health is urging people to dress properly for the weather and be prepared in order to avoid frost bite.

‘Be prepared’ is the overall message when it comes to the weather and the rash of thefts.

And while you can’t do much about the weather, Bujan said thefts can be prevented.

“If we are aware and educated than these events won’t occur,” she said.