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Carole Walker, RMIIA Executive Director, 303-790-0216 or toll free 800-355-9524
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"Puffer" Awareness Initiative Aims to Ruin The Holidays for Car Thieves: Coloradans Against Auto Theft Launches Statewide Winter Awareness Campaign Warning Against Dangers of Leaving Cars Running Unattended

Auto Theft Prevention TipsDecember 5, 2012 – Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) is putting a freeze on auto theft this winter with its annual "puffer" campaign to educate the public on the increased risk of car theft during winter months when cars are often left running unattended. "Puffer" is an expression used by car thieves to describe a vehicle left running and unattended as evidenced by the telltale exhaust vapors visible in cold weather. This alerts thieves that a car is probably unlocked with the keys in the ignition.

"December marks the start of 'puffer' activity season, a time when car thieves go looking for their favorite holiday presents: cars left running unattended," said Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association/CAAT Co-Chair. "When the weather turns colder, Colorado drivers are more likely to leave their cars running unattended to warm up first thing in the morning, or while they run into a store for a quick errand."

Lockdown winter awareness campaign reminds people not to give car thieves a holiday gift this season by leaving their cars running unattended.

To raise consumer awareness about the risks of leaving your car unattended, the winter Lockdown campaign urges Coloradans "Don't Make This a Winter to Forget." The Lockdown message will be supported through a paid media campaign including a TV commercial and online advertising that will run throughout the month of December. CAAT is also rolling out its message to Colorado citizens statewide with the support of coalition partners and auto theft task forces.

Colonel James Wolfinbarger, Chief Colorado State Patrol says, "Fifty percent of stolen cars have the keys in them, which means that the simple act of removing the keys from your vehicle cuts your risk for auto theft in half. Leaving your vehicle unattended and running, whether it's locked or unlocked, is against the law in the state of Colorado, yet at least 40 percent of Colorado drivers admit they have done it. We urge you to not to give away your car to thieves this winter."

Don't Be an Easy Target
Auto theft and increased insurance rates can be reduced, by taking the following precautions:

  • Never leave your car running unattended, even for a minute.
  • Holiday shopping? Put gifts and all valuables in the trunk or hidden from view.
  • Always lock your car.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Don't keep a spare set of keys in the car.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and report suspicious behavior.

Colorado auto theft task forces, made up of regional law enforcement agencies and other motor vehicle safety and insurance partners are a part of the CAAT coalition to decrease auto theft during this peak auto theft season. For more information on Lockdown, visit


  • AAA Colorado
  • Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement (BATTLE)
  • Colorado State Patrol
  • Commerce City/Thornton/Adams County Auto Theft Prevention Program
  • East Metro Auto Theft Team (EMATT)
  • LoJack
  • Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (MATT)
  • National Insurance Crime Bureau
  • Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA)
  • Southern Colorado Motor Vehicle Theft Task Force
  • Western Colorado Auto Theft Task Force (WCATT)

About Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT)
Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) is a statewide auto theft prevention initiative to educate the public on what they can do to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of auto theft. CAAT is a coalition of law enforcement agencies, the Colorado State Patrol, 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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