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It's a common part of Canadian winters, but police in Winnipeg are reminding the public not to leave running vehicles with keys in them unattended.

While we've experienced some of the coldest November days on record, the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) is asking people to resist the temptation to warm up your car if you have to leave the keys in.

stolen vanThis screenshot from a Winnipeg community Facebook group shows just how quick a running vehicle can be taken.

Every winter, the WPS says, Winnipeg sees a dramatic spike in the number of vehicles stolen. The majority of those vehicles are left running with keys in, in order to warm them up. The WPS says it can happen very quick - much quicker than most people think.

The WPS recommends either investing in command start for your vehicle or simply waiting to start it until you're ready to leave.

Last winter as many as 85% of cars stolen had keys in the ignition, or within reach inside the vehicle, according to stats released by Manitoba Public Insurance.

While the frigid temperatures of late might make the thought of having a warm vehicle while you head to work tempting, an unattended vehicle running with keys in them, even if it's locked, is simply too tempting for would-be thieves. "It's an open invitation if somebody's walking past, and if they're cold and want to get out of there, or want to take your vehicle for a ride, then that vehicle is very appealing for them," the WPS says.

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