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New Campaign Aims To Educate Drivers About How To Avoid Becoming A Car Theft Victim

By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia Police are partnering with the Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority in a campaign to warn motorists about the dangers of leaving their cars unlocked, unattended and running.

It's a practice known as "puffing." And Auto Squad Sergeant Dan Buckley says it only takes a few seconds to make a motorist's life miserable.

"It's a crime of opportunity. Many thieves don't set out to steal a car on that particular day. But the opportunity was just too hard to resist," said Buckley.

Auto theft in North Philadelphia's 22nd District is up 46 percent since January and investigators say at least ten percent are a direct result of puffing.

Steven Wheeler, Executive Director of the PA Auto Theft Prevention Authority says all you need to prevent being victimized is a little common sense.

"When you get out of your car, lock your car, take your keys every time. You don't have to buy any technology, you don't need any fancy devices, don't need any mechanical locks on your steering wheel," said Wheeler.

As part of the prevention campaign police are distributing 'No Puffers' ice scrapers and offering posters to local businesses.


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