By Thomas Tracy
If William Shakespeare had been a cop, he might have said something like this: “To thine own common sense be true.” That’s exactly what cops from the 63rd Precinct are encouraging motorists to do these days – use your common sense. Or, more specifically, residents shouldn’t leave their car behind with the doors unlocked and the engine running as they run to a neighborhood store or as they prepare to go to work. If you think that only the foolish would do something like that, think again. “We’ve had a rash of car thefts where the victim had left the car with the keys still inside,” McGinn told members of the 63rd Precinct Community Council Wednesday. “We have had a lot of cases where people have started their cars, go back into their houses and come out twenty minutes later only to be surprised that their car is not there anymore.” One of the most disturbing cases regarding this practice came earlier this month when a man ran into the Duane Reade on Ralph Avenue, leaving his car unlocked and running with his two young sons inside. When he came back out, he found one of his sons standing in the parking lot. The thieves who took his 2000 Lexus still had his other son – an eight-year-old. Police said that the thieves kicked the kid out of the car unharmed at the corner of Ralph Avenue and East 65th Street. The thieves were apprehended a few blocks away. Still, that motorist learned a hard lesson. “Do everyone a favor and don’t leave your car running with the keys inside,” said McGinn, who offered another scenario for meeting attendees in order to get his point across. “Let’s say you have your car running outside your house and a kid walks by on his way to school,” said McGinn. “He’s not a bad kid, but he doesn’t want to walk to school. So he sees your car and decides to go on a joyride.” “Now he could hit somebody or even kill somebody,” McGinn said. “This kid saw an opportunity and now someone is dead and his whole life is ruined.” The motorist, of course, laid the “opportunity” at his feet. McGinn acknowledged that many residents have become used to the practice of starting their car outside their home in the morning to warm it up and then running back inside to either get themselves or their kids ready. “If you feel that you have to do that, at least watch by the door to make sure that no one is eyeing your car…or at least start the car with an extra set of keys and lock it,” he said.