In the City of Utica, police are responding to over a dozen reports of stolen vehicles. What's making the thefts possible? Warming up your vehicles.

Over the last few weeks, the Utica Police Department has reported they have taken over a dozen stolen vehicle reports from owners that have left their vehicles running unattended, unlocked and with the key fob inside the car, or keys in the ignition.

Why are residents making it so easy for vehicles to be stolen? People are warming up their vehicles to avoid the cold/snow:

It is understandable with the winter weather to want to do this, but not only does it present an easy opportunity for theft, it is also in violation of NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law- section 1210. Tickets may be issued. However writing traffic tickets for this offense is not the intended purpose of writing this posting.

The UPD remind residents that this is a very preventable crime and that you should remember to use common sense:

Always lock your car and maintain control over your keys or key fob. Car starters and automobile manufacturer’s vehicle apps are a great way to start your car without compromising control of your vehicle."

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It’s Illegal to Warm Up Your Car in Your Driveway in CNY

If you turn on your car to warm up and then run back inside, you're breaking the law.

Specifically, the New York State law says "No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the vehicle, and effectively setting the brake..." If you turn your car on, and then stand there brushing off the snow, that's okay, because your car is attended.

What about remote car starters? Those are okay because they don't involve a key, and the car can't be driven away without the key in place (or in the vehicle.)

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