COLUMBUS GA (WTVM) - Cars are being stolen at an alarming rate in Columbus within the first month of 2016.
According to Columbus police, 94 cars have been stolen in just 22 days, and in most cases the problem can be avoided.
Out of the nearly 100 cars stolen, nearly 50 were stolen because the perpetrators didn't have to work hard at all to take vehicles. The owners left the keys in the cars either in the driveway of their home or at a convenience store while making a quick run inside.
"What we find happening is, people will get up in the morning. It's kind of cold, people will go and warm up their car, crank the car, turn the defroster on, go inside and come back out and the car is gone," said Major Gil Slouchick.
If you have to leave your car running, Slouchick recommends blocking it in with another vehicle. And if that's not an option, stay with your car while the car is warming up.
Residents in the Valley spoke out about their own habit of warning up the car during the cold weather.
"I will say that I have before I had my son, but now I kind of keep an eye due to the incline of stolen cars," said Leilani Chavez.
"I'd never do that here, I wouldn't do that in the city," responded Cindy Chute.
"I'd never do it here we live in the country," added Cheri Baker.