Prevent Your Vehicle From Disappearing in a ‘Puff’
Keeping your warm car running on a cold day when you run into your home or a store for a few minutes may be tempting, but it’s a decision you may regret.
“Puffing” is a term well–known to law enforcement and auto insurers — it’s the practice of leaving a vehicle running while unattended. Auto theft is a crime of opportunity, and there is no easier opportunity for a thief than to jump into an idling and unoccupied vehicle.
Vehicle thefts in the U.S. were higher in 2021 (810,400) than in 2020 (721,885). About 10% of those thefts were because the driver left their keys in the car. The top three months for stolen vehicles are October, November, and December, when the weather is getting colder.
Whether your car is warming up in your driveway or you need to enter a convenience store for coffee, never leave your car unlocked or running. It is a bad habit and illegal in some states and municipalities.
“This is a very preventable crime, yet ‘puffing’ incidents are on the rise,” said Patrick Conaway, Manager of NJM’s Special Investigations Unit. Conaway points to these preventive messages recommended by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB):
Never leave an idling vehicle unattended while it’s warming up
Lock the car, set the alarm, and take all keys and fobs with you
Park in well–lit areas, ideally with security cameras
Don’t leave valuables in your car
Take a photo of your vehicle registration on your cell phone
Also, remember to immediately call the police and your auto insurer if you are an auto theft victim.
“Puffing, An Open Invitation to Car Thieves,” https://www.ncib.org/news/blog/puffing/-open-invitation-car-thieves
By Steve Hallo, “‘Puffing’ is an invitation for car thieves,” https://www.propertycasualty360.com/2021/02/12/puffing-is-an-invitation-for-car-thieves (February 12, 2021)
The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only, should not be construed as professional advice and is not intended to replace official sources. Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers; therefore, NJM cannot guarantee their accuracy.