Salt Lake City police using flyers to warn drivers about car thefts

Mar 29, 2023, 1:52 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Some car owners are waking up to find flyers on their windshields or car doors, warning them their vehicle could have been stolen.

Officials with the Salt Lake City Police Department said the flyers are part of a public awareness campaign. The flyers read “#DontGiveYourCarAway, A criminal could’ve stolen your car.” They state nearly 1,800 vehicles are stolen in Salt Lake City each year, many of them when they were left running and unattended.

Police said the flyers aren’t targeting anyone or their car personally — the message is meant to serve as a public notice.

“A lot of people go outside and warm up their car in the winter, especially when it snows, so a lot of times, people come by, it’s a crime of opportunity, they’ll just hop in and drive the car off, so we’re trying to raise awareness so that stops,” SLCPD officer Dalton Beebe said.

Beebe said the number of car thefts this year compared to last year is down.

“Last year, we had 118 cars stolen while they were being warmed and this year that number’s dropped to 39,” he said. “Whether that’s proactivity of the police department, whether that’s spreading awareness, we don’t know the exact reason for the drop in crime, but there is a drop.”

He said the department hopes to continue that trend, so officers in the community outreach unit are spreading the word to all Salt Lake City neighborhoods.

“I know it’s cold outside but don’t go outside and start your car and then walk back inside for 20 minutes or any period of time really, that’s when we see a lot of cars stolen, that warming time, especially in the morning,” Beebe said. “I know it’s not fun, but a cold car is better than no car.”

Beebe said as the cold weather continues, officers are warning drivers to be extra aware. They said the number of car thefts typically decreases in the spring and summer months.

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Salt Lake City police using flyers to warn drivers about car thefts