Mayor: Most Of St. Pete Car Thefts Due To People Leaving Keys In Car

(photo: Stefen Anderson)

(photo: Stefen Anderson)

St. Petersburg, FL (CBS) – During a mayoral forum last week, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster made a point to remind people not to leave their keys in the car.

“Sixty percent of the auto thefts that we have in the city are caused by people leaving their keys in the car,” he said.

St. Petersburg officials make the case that the problem is actually worse…

St. Petersburg Police Department Chief Chuck Harmon says the percentage is actually much higher – over 83 percent. By comparison, the national average is somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, which leaves St. Petersburg in rarified air.

According to, 460 of the 551 cars stolen in St. Petersburg this year had the keys left in the ignition, or somewhere else in the car.

As technology has advanced, stealing cars has become harder than ever before. That said, the St. Petersburg Police Chief had a simple message to drivers in the city: lock your doors and take the keys with you.

In an effort to help get the message out about crime in the city, the SPPD has created a series of videos starring “Willie Everlern”.

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