MINNEAPOLIS (KARE) — The Minneapolis Police Department announced a new initiative in response to a major spike in auto thefts.
According to police, Minneapolis has had 262 auto thefts — or 13 stolen vehicles per day — since Jan. 1, 2020.
"Analysis of this data shows that this is a citywide issue," said MPD spokesperson John Elder during a press conference on Friday.
Police say the total number of thefts are up 90 percent from last year through the first three weeks of the year, and about 73 percent of the vehicles stolen this year came as a result of someone leaving a running vehicle unattended.
"Simply stated, nearly 73 percent of all auto thefts are preventable," Elder said. "They are preventable crimes."
According to police, they've seen a trend among those people leaving their vehicles running: warming up a vehicle before leaving, food delivery workers and key fobs being left in the vehicle.
Minneapolis has an open ignition ordinance where people can be cited for leaving a vehicle unattended with a key or fob still inside.
Police say they're also seeing an uptick in possessions being stolen from vehicles, too.