Photo: AP

At an airport, it’s not unusual for rental car companies to leave keys in their fleet of cars. People want to rent a car, scoop it, and go. Anywhere else, though, eh, well? In Chicago, this is an issue, according to the Chicago Tribune. Police in the city say the practice of leaving keys in the car has become a “widespread problem” for dealers.

The situation came up at a recent city council committee meeting, the Tribune reports. Here’s more:

While it might seem like an obviously bad idea to leave keys inside cars on the lots when the companies are closed, Sgt. Keith Blair of the Chicago Police Department’s major auto theft unit said it’s become a widespread problem.

“The biggest key with the vehicle thefts currently is having keys accessible,” Blair said while speaking at a City Council Public Safety Committee hearing Tuesday. “At dealerships, what they’re doing is they’re burglarizing the dealership, they’re entering, finding cars with keys in them and exiting the property with the vehicles they can get easiest with keys.”

This is not surprising! In one instance, a group made off with 13 vehicles in a single night. Unlocked cars, which had keys inside, which is a scenario that’s very lucrative for individuals who steal cars for a living.

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Blair reportedly said at the hearing that the stolen cars are used in an array of crimes, everything from robberies to homicide and “things like that.”

The city council is considering stepping in to enforce dealerships to lock the keys away at night. This should be common sense! Save the cars, people.