Minneapolis police are imploring vehicle owners to keep their keys on their person, as the spike in winter car thefts continues to rise.
Minneapolis PD had expressed concern in late January after reporting that 13 cars were being stolen in the city per day since the start of the year.
In February, there have been 17 cars stolen on average per day. As of this past Monday, 532 cars have been stolen since Jan. 1.
The unfortunate thing about this is that most of these thefts are "completely preventable," with police saying in the majority of cases, keys had been left in the ignition and the vehicle running while unattended.
This happens frequently in the Minnesota winter as owners leave their vehicles to warm up before venturing out, but in doing so they present a tempting target for thieves.
The police department has teamed up with the Downtown Improvement District for an advertising campaign, with Clear Channel Outdoors donating billboard space for the awareness raising promotion.
Billboards stating "You Hold the Key to Preventing Auto Theft" have sprung up across the city as a result, coming amid plummeting temperatures seen in the Twin Cities this week.
Minneapolis PD says that stolen vehicles are often then used in other crimes, including robberies, burglaries, and assaults.