Editorial: Leaving cars running invites theft, or worse

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 3, 2003

Leaving your wallet on the sidewalk with a &uot;please steal me&uot; sign. Announcing to the neighborhood that you’re leaving town for a week and your house will be left unlocked. These are things nobody in their right mind would do.

How about leaving your car running, with the doors unlocked, outside a liquor store? How about doing it with your child inside?

Why would anybody do it?

Email newsletter signup

The St. Cloud mother who did just that &045; and had her car and son stolen, only to be recovered safely later &045; has surely learned her lesson. Maybe everyone else can learn that same lesson without going through the same ordeal.

It doesn’t matter how long you’re going to be gone. If you leave the car running with the doors unlocked, there is a chance somebody will take the opportunity to hop into the driver’s seat and help themselves to your vehicle.

Leaving a child inside the car is a whole other matter. Losing a vehicle is one thing, but a child cannot be replaced. Doing it in the summer can be criminal because of the heat. Doing it with the car running and the doors unlocked is equally foolish.

The St. Cloud woman could be charged with child endangerment. What she did certainly seems to qualify. But chances are, no further penalty will be needed for her to change her ways. Most important is that others will see how close the situation came to tragedy and think twice about putting their own kids in the same kind of danger.

Tribune editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper’s management and editorial staff.