Nashville police say car thefts tied to warming vehicles

    (Photo: Getty Images)
    (Photo: Getty Images)

    Police said Thursday an overwhelming majority of vehicles stolen in Davidson County recently have been from residential areas and likely a casualty of the winter storm.

    Over the past week, 79% of vehicles taken were cars with keys left inside and unattended, making them easy targets. Of the 47 vehicles stolen, 12 were left running without the driver present.

    “Because of the climate, people leave their cars running in front of their homes to warm up while they go back inside to get ready. When they return, the vehicle has been stolen,” said Luis Lopez, a Metro Nashville police officer and founder of El Protector Program, a program created to reduce crime within immigrant communities.

    At a weekly Metro Nashville press conference, Lopez advised residents to lock vehicles and remove any valuables, such as keys, that could entice thieves to break into the vehicle.

    Several news outlets nationwide have reported an uptick in stolen vehicles and car burglaries as crimes of opportunities. 

    Throughout Nashville, a total of nine guns were stolen from vehicles over the past week, and in these instances the cars were left unlocked, most located in Hermitage. Police fear that these weapons could potentially end up being used in other crimes and warn residents to always secure valuables.

    “We need your help to reduce these numbers,” he added.

    Lopez advised residents to have pictures of their vehicle’s license plate and other identification to give police in the event of theft. Without the information “it is very difficult for police to help,” said Lopez. 

    Once a car has been stolen from a residential area, thieves may continue committing crimes in that neighborhood due to perceived opportunities.

     “It’s like feeding a stray cat. It will keep coming back,” said Lopez.

    In order for auto insurance policies to cover car theft, residents may need to have comprehensive coverage in order to recover the cash value of a stolen car, but car owners still face losses, according to Progressive.