PUEBLO – It’s going to get cold again next week and it just so happens to be “Puffer Week” in Colorado.
The goal of the statewide campaign is to warn people about leaving their cars running unattended.
Puffing is not only illegal, but it’s also dangerous. The Pueblo Police Department said there were 44 reported cases of puffing vehicle thefts in the city last year. According to Coloradans Against Auto Theft, there were over 19,000 auto thefts in the state last year.
Officer Brandon Beauvais, a crime prevention officer with the Pueblo Police Department, said, “People generally wake up in the morning, it’s cold outside. They start their car, leave the keys in it, let it warm up, go inside, get ready for work.”
However, when they come back out the car is usually gone, swiped by thieves lurking in the area. It’s a common occurrence during the winter months.
Officer Beauvais said, “The criminals go around in these neighborhoods and they drive to see the exhaust puffing out of the rear of the vehicle…I think the mentality’s been that it’ll never happen to me or it won’t happen to me, not in my neighborhood.”
It’s a mindset he wants to correct especially now as “Puffer Week” returns to Colorado this Sunday.
“Our primary role is really just that preventative aspect, to try to get that information out there, try to get more people aware of it being an issue.”
Warnings will be given and if needed – tickets issued.
“We just really want to make it known that it’s one of the most preventable crimes out there.”
Beyond that, by not puffing people are hindering other crimes from happening.
“The thing that people don’t know is auto theft is tied into a large amount of our violent crime.”
The one exception when it comes to puffing is that if you have a remote start you will not be ticketed. This tool allows you to start your car without being in it. If you are caught puffing with keys in the ignition it could cost you $60.