SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been more than two months since the city of Sioux Falls approved a $50,000 awareness campaign to remind people to lock their cars. Currently, 1,050 stolen vehicles have been reported this year.
However, no matter where Grace Anderson parks her car, she always locks her doors.
“Anywhere you go even in the smallest towns there are people lurking so you just never know and it never hurts to be safe,” Anderson said.
Police say that’s the right thing to do because stolen cars are becoming more common.
“Especially in the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in that,” said Sam Clemens, the public information officer for Sioux Falls Police Department. “The one thing that seems to be consistent when you talk to the detectives that investigate these crimes, we’re talking 90 plus percent of the stolen cars in Sioux Falls have keys left in them.”
According to the Sioux Falls police department, there have already been over 1,000 stolen vehicles reported. Compared to last year’s overall total of 1,361.
“Part of the problem is that Sioux Falls isn’t a small town anymore. We’re getting bigger. That means with more people comes more bad element,” Clemens said.
City officials tell us the awareness campaign, encouraging people to lock their cars, will start later this year. Police are hoping people listen.
“I mean, we’re not going to know until after it starts and after those messages start getting out to people, but we’re hoping that that’ll have a big impact and reduce that crime overall,” Clemens said.
And for drivers, something as simple as locking the doors can avoid a headache later on.
“I always lock whenever I go somewhere whether I have valuables or not, I’m sure of it,” Anderson said. “I always check before I leave my car just to double check to make sure it’s locked because I don’t want to take that risk.”
The city plans to encourage people to lock their doors by posting messages on billboards and airing radio and TV ads. The money for this campaign will come out of the city’s general fund.