In 2015, more than 500 vehicles were stolen in the Harrisburg, York and Carlisle area with 177 of those vehicles from Dauphin County alone. The Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority wants to lower that number.

They say that during the winter months, preventable thefts increase because of “puffing,” or leaving your car unlocked, running and unattended.

In the winter, it’s common for drivers to heat up the car and run back inside, but the Auto Theft Prevention Authority says that makes an easy theft target.

To show just how easy it is to steal a running vehicle, the Auto Theft Prevention Authority has provided this video:

According to the group, about 50% of the stolen cars in Pennsylvania are left unlocked, with the keys inside. So the simple advice? Lock your car and take your keys with you every time.

If your vehicle is stolen, there are several steps to take:

  • First, contact your local police department.
  • After confirming your car has not been towed or impounded, gather the following information:

    • your car’s VIN, make, model, color, any pictures you have as well as your insurance information
  • Then, report the vehicle stolen with your police department, insurance company and financing/leasing company

For more information on “puffing” or auto theft in Pennsylvania visit: www.watchyourcar.org.