Cold Weather Habits May Leave You at Risk for Motor Vehicle Theft

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(COLORADO) – These last few weeks have clued us in; Colorado is cooling down. Even though Autumn has just arrived, winter is around the corner. While that may mean you are grabbing extra blankets at night and bundling more during the day, there are other seasonal behaviors that you may have started, leaving you at greater risk for Motor Vehicle Theft (MVT).

Cold Colorado mornings always lead to an increase in puffer vehicles. A “Puffer” is a vehicle that is started in one’s driveway and left unattended to “Warm Up”. Puffing is illegal in Colorado, (Immobilizing remote start systems excluded) and can result in fines. Aside from the fine, a person engaging in this behavior may be left out in the cold, when they find out a thief has stolen their vehicle. A great alternative to puffing is to warm up your vehicle while you scrape the ice and snow off the car or warm up the car as you sit inside.


The cold weather months also begin with the holiday season, which, for many people, means traveling to see family.; Travel can be an increased risk for MVT. If you are headed away now or in the holiday season, be conscious of where your vehicle is while you are away. Leaving a vehicle at home can be a safe option, especially if it is in a secure garage. But if you have to leave a vehicle outside while you are away, take basic theft protection steps like locking the car, taking all keys from the car, and then consider additional vehicle theft protection. Add a steering wheel lock or take other steps to immobilize the vehicle before you travel, such as removing or disconnecting the battery.

If you can’t leave your vehicle at home and plan to leave it at an RTD parking lot, carpool, airport, or any long-term parking lot, be aware of the increased risk of MVT. Long-term parking is a shopping ground for thieves. Vehicles that are unattended for days and weeks become easy targets for a thief. Taking extra precautions at long-term parking is a must for any vehicle! From steering wheel locks, pedal and shifter locks, and parking boots, these physical immobilizers are great visible deterrents to a would-be thief and help prevent thefts. Other options include devices like alarm systems, immobilizers, GPS trackers, etc.

Finally, just like the cold weather, the gift-giving season will soon be upon us. As you run errands, you may put the gift in the back seat along with your groceries and finally get home and accidentally leave the gift in your car. Leaving gifts, shopping bags, and even loose change visible in a car incentivizes thieves. Why steal the clean and empty car next door when a similar car is available, along with ten retail bags? Thieves hate clean cars, so taking everything out of the car and keeping it clean helps prevent MVT. 

Auto theft continues to trend downward in Colorado, but the threat always remains. Eliminate the opportunities for a would-be thief. Take your keys, lock your car, and learn more ways to prevent auto theft at


About Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA):
CATPA is a state authority that was established by Colorado statute in 2003 to help reduce Colorado’s serious auto theft problem through the award of grant funds. The Colorado law helps ensure that auto theft prevention efforts are targeted. These efforts have resulted in an increase in stolen vehicle recoveries and criminal prosecutions of major organized criminal groups, as well as related crimes.

Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs.  In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.