Calgary, AB,

Operation Cold Start launching across Alberta

We are partnering with law enforcement agencies across Alberta to launch Operation Cold Start, a crime prevention initiative aimed at addressing the high number of warm-up auto thefts that occur during the winter months.

Warm-up thefts are crimes of opportunity, where car thieves target vehicles that are left running and unattended. Since the beginning of November 2022, we have had 246 vehicles reported stolen while they were left running (as of Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023).

“Vehicles that are left running with the keys inside can be gone in a matter of seconds,” says Acting Sgt. Chris Terry of the Calgary Police Service Crime Prevention Team. “These crimes can happen anywhere, even if you believe you are in a safe area, and even if your vehicle stays in your line of sight while you’re inside your house or a store.”

Starting Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, CPS officers will be patrolling communities as part of Operation Cold Start, looking for vehicles that are left running and unattended. Officers will also be looking for prolific auto theft offenders and other suspicious people and vehicles.

Stolen vehicles are often used by criminals to commit other crimes in the city, victimizing other Calgarians. We are asking for the public’s help to keep our city safe and reduce the number of preventable thefts.

“A cold car is better than a stolen car, so as the temperatures drop, if you need to warm up your car and you don’t have a remote starter, make sure you bundle up and stay with your vehicle until you’re ready to drive away,” says Acting Sgt. Terry.

Calgarians who are planning to warm up their vehicle are reminded to:

  • Never leave a running vehicle unattended if the keys are inside the vehicle, or if the vehicle has been started with a keyless ignition or push-button start.
  • Use a remote starter whenever possible and keep your vehicle locked.
  • If you are warming up your vehicle with the keys in the ignition or with a push-button start, stay with your vehicle.
  • Use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves.
  • Never leave spare keys or garage door openers in or around your vehicle.
  • Never leave children or pets in a running vehicle.
  • Do not leave valuables, including identity documents and bank cards, in your vehicle.
  • Report suspicious activity to police immediately by calling 403-266-1234.
  • If you witness a crime in progress, call 9-1-1.

Operation Cold Start stats will be sent out through the CPS’s social media accounts at the end of the week.