SPOKANE, Wash.—Local law enforcement stressed the importance of not leaving cars running by themselves as cold weather continues.
Spokane police said they are seeing an increase in stolen cars as the weather gets colder because people are leaving their cars running and unattended.
Officials with the Spokane Police Department said it is a "crime of opportunity" for thieves.
People could end up losing not just their cars, but also $136 if they are ticketed.
However, many KREM viewers had concerns and questions about the actual ticket.
One viewer asked if people can still get tickets, if their car in running unattended on their own property.
"On your own property, no we are not walking in people's driveways, to be perfectly honest with you, our patrol officers are extremely busy, but there could be those times when we come across it and it's such a blatant violation, you know?" said Sgt.Glenn Bartlett with the Spokane Police Department. "Where you leave them, but if they are on your own property we recommend that you don't do that at all," he said.
Another viewer asked "if you have an auto start feature on your car, will you still get a ticket?”
SPD said you could still get fined, and that someone may still try to break your window before realizing they can't actually drive away with your car.
"Don't give these people the opportunity to steal your car or damage your vehicle for that matter," said Sgt. Bartlett.
Another viewer asked if they could leave their teenage son in the car while they run into the store.
Sgt. Bartlett said you won't get a ticket doing this, but your child must be at least 16 years of age or older.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office also said it has seen an increase in cars being stolen for the same reason.
Just last week, sheriff's deputies found themselves in the middle of a car chase with a man who took the opportunity to steal a car left running outside someone's home.
Police said the focus is not the ticket, but making sure people don't make themselves a victim.