December 08, 2021

With temperatures beginning to drop, Baltimore County residents may be tempted to leave their cars unattended while they warm up. The term “Warm-Up Theft” describes the stealing of a car that has been left running and unattended. These thefts occur typically outside a home, apartment building or convenience store. They are crimes of opportunity and crimes that are preventable. 

It’s estimated between 45 to 50 percent of car thefts in Baltimore County are the result of warm-up thefts during the Fall/Winter months.

To help drivers protect themselves against “Warm-Up Theft,” the Baltimore County Police Department wants to remind residents of the potential threat and provide some safe alternatives.

  • Never leave your car running unattended.
  • In cold weather, warm up with your car: grab a hot cup of coffee, gloves, and a blanket. It shouldn’t take long – most cars warm up in a matter of minutes.
  • Park in an enclosed garage whenever possible.
  • Use a remote start if you have one, making sure the doors are locked and the keyless start fob is far enough away that the vehicle can’t be moved.
  • Lock your doors every single time.
  • Invest in a remote starter (update software when prompted).
  • Look up auto thefts in your zip code through the Baltimore County Crime Dashboard.
  • Review the top stolen vehicles in Maryland here.

Police are asking anyone who sees suspicious activity in their neighborhood to call 410-307-2020 or 911.

Anyone with information about a stolen vehicle is asked to call 410-307-2020. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7Lockup. Residents may also go online to Metro Crime Stoppers to submit information through the “P3 Tip” mobile app.

Read more about the "Warm-Up Theft" law in Maryland here.