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Carole Walker, RMIIA

RMIIA News Releases

7951 E. Maplewood Avenue, Suite 110
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Utah & Wyoming

Carole Walker, RMIIA Executive Director, 303-790-0216 or toll free 800-355-9524
For Auto Theft Task Force Information: Lori Malcolm, CATPA, 303-239-4560

Car Thieves Celebrate "Puffer Season!"
Colorado Enforcement Agencies Warn: Cold Temperatures & the Holiday Season Make Your Car the Perfect Gift for a Thief

November 30, 2010 – Law enforcement agencies across the state are trying to make sure you don't unintentionally put a car thief on your holiday gift list. The first week of December kicks off "Puffer Season" and Colorado auto theft task forces are launching Colorado anti-car theft campaigns to raise consumer awareness about the increased threat of auto theft due to "puffers" and holiday shopping. "Puffers" is the term describing exhaust vapors that come out of a tailpipe when a vehicle is running in cold weather, which can alert thieves that your vehicle is unlocked with the keys in the ignition—making it easy prey.

Colorado auto theft task forces, made up of regional law enforcement agencies, along with other motor vehicle safety and insurance partners are part of the Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) Coalition. The coalition wants to sound the alarm to get people's attention during this peak auto theft season.

"People are basically handing over the keys to their car as a gift to auto thieves to steal and commit other violent crimes by leaving your vehicle running unattended, and especially during cold weather," said Colorado State Patrol (CSP) Lt. Colonel Scott Hernandez. "The CSP and other law enforcement agencies around the state will be actively educating the public about auto theft—and how they can protect themselves from car thieves."

Some of the public awareness efforts include: the Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (MAAT) distributing public warning flyers, the Boulder Area Auto Theft Task force will be getting the message out via the media about how not to be a victim of auto theft, the Southern Auto Theft Task Force will be conducting a "black Friday" enforcement wave with their automatic license plate readers to crackdown on auto theft.

"While it's easy to think that it will never happen to you—auto thefts spike due to puffers and holiday shopping promotes break-ins," said Carole Walker, Executive Director, Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. "And that's something we all pay the price for through higher insurance premiums."

A recent survey of drivers conducted by LoJack and the National Insurance Crime Bureau found:

  • One-third admit they have left their car while it was running.
  • 47% don't always park in a well-lit area.
  • 40% don't hide their valuables. In fact, nearly half leave mail in their vehicle, a quarter have left a purse or wallet, and almost a third have left bank statements, all of which can put them at risk for identity theft.

Common Sense Tips

  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Report anything suspicious and avoid suspicious looking people.
  • Lock your doors.
  • Close your windows completely.
  • Take your keys out of the car.
  • Never leave your car running unattended - not even for a minute.
  • Remove all items from the car or hide them from view.

Coloradans Against Auto Theft is a coalition of law enforcements agencies, insurance partners, LoJack and AAA Colorado. CAAT and the state auto theft task force efforts are funded in part by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA).


Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association is a non-profit consumer information organization. Affiliated with the Insurance Information Institute, RMIIA has been serving consumers and the media since 1952.

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