Car thefts up 33% in Philadelphia; many with keys left inside

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Car thefts in Philadelphia are up 33% compared to this time last year.

There were 6300 vehicles stolen in Philadelphia at this time last year, compared to 8,384 cars stolen year-to-date.

We spoke to the captain of the 18th police district who says his officers are making a concerted effort to get these numbers down.

"I'm not happy about it, but we have an overall increase of 39% for the year in stolen autos. In a two-week period we had 31 cars taken," said Captain Matthew Gillespie.

Gillespie heads up the 18th district in West Philadelphia and says these are crimes of opportunity.

In the last two weeks, "11 out of the 31 have been taken with the keys in them."

The thieves are targeting double-parkers, car warmers, and delivery drivers. About a dozen delivery cars were stolen this year in the 18th district alone.

"With COVID-19 we really have seen an increase in delivery services so the delivery person comes, and then the robbery happens," said Gillespie.

One-third to one-half of thefts are crimes are just too easy, says Captain of Major Crimes Squad, John Ryan.

"It's directly tied to people leaving their cars running, people leaving their key fobs in their car, so people can just drive off," says Captain Ryan.
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