It's that time of year again when auto thefts start growing in the city of Yakima. Every year as we approach fall and spring Yakima Police see a rash of auto thefts.

Hundreds are vehicles are stolen while warming up in Yakima every year

An average of 500 to 700 vehicles are stolen each year within city limits and with a lack of a traffic unit the department has no ongoing emphasis patrols that look for stolen and or speeding vehicles. Many of the vehicle are stolen after thieves find the vehicles idling, or warming up on a city street. Authorities say it's illegal to leave your vehicle running on a city street. It is legal to leave a vehicle running on your own property or driveway.  Authorities say if you like to warm up your vehicle get yourself an extra set of keys so you can lock the doors. You can also purchase a remote starter that will allow you to start your locked vehicle while inside your home or work.

Warm up auto thefts are a problem not only in Yakima but around the state

Vehicles are stolen all year long in Yakima but police say they see a rash of thefts during the fall and spring when the temperatures begin to change with cooler mornings.
While vehicle theft is a big problem in Yakima it's also a problem around the state. According to the Washington State Patrol more than 31,000 vehicles were in the state. The state patrol says Troopers recovered 104 vehicles, although that total does not include cars tracked down by other police agencies in Washington.

State laws have hampered police ability to stop some stolen vehicles

However lawmakers have limited the power of police to find the stolen vehicles. In fact the Washington State Patrol says car thefts increased by 50% since a new law was enacted in July of 2021 that limits police pursuits. Before the law authorities were seeing upwards of 2,500 being stolen statewide every month. Today the number is between 3,000 and 3,500 every month.

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