Buffalo Police launch annual car theft prevention initiative

Posted at 2:24 AM, Dec 16, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo Police are now urging neighbors to do their part to prevent vehicle thefts.

The department launched its annual effort Tuesday. Members of the department's Neighborhood Engagement Team are now distributing pamphlets with safety tips to help you keep your car and anything inside it safe. Police say it's especially important that you turn off and lock your car.

“The majority of auto thefts in the City of Buffalo are vehicles stolen when keys were left in the ignition or inside the vehicle,” said police Captain Jeffrey Rinaldo.

Buffalo Police especially want to remind you never to leave a child in the car unattended. Several incidents of vehicles being stolen with children inside have happened, including one in 2018, when a car with a two-month-old girl in it was stolen from outside a liquor store. The child was okay, but the mother was later charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Beyond simply turning off and locking your car doors, police say doing the following things will also help prevent someone from breaking into or stealing your car:

  • Keep the keys far enough away from vehicles that have keyless entry/start features, even when the keys are inside
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Lock your auto’s doors and close windows
  • Install a car alarm or anti-theft device
  • Lock valuables in the trunk or keeping them somewhere out of sight
  • Hide car keys when at home, as many stolen vehicles are taken by friends and family

Leaving your vehicle running while unattended is also against New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.

“Keeping a car warm isn’t worth the very real chance of having it stolen,” said Captain Rinaldo. “It’s not worth the risk, and it’s definitely not worth the fine or jail sentence, so please shut your car off, lock it, and take the keys.”

The latest efforts from Buffalo Police come on the heels of a rash of car thefts in the suburbs, most recently, in Cheektowaga.