Calgary police are working on solutions to prevent auto theft in the city and say over 5700 vehicles were stolen in 2017.

Police launched Operation Cold Start earlier this month to educate drivers about the consequences of leaving unlocked vehicles running in cold weather.

Officers spoke with almost 700 people over the two-week initiative but many people are still not getting the message.

“A lot of these vehicles are being stolen as crimes of opportunity and what I mean is, if a vehicle is left running to warm up in the morning or if someone leaves their keys in the vehicle. We’ve even seen things such as a car prowling where somebody comes across the key fob of a vehicle and comes back a few days after to steal it so anything we can do to prevent these thefts from happening decreases the number of stolen vehicles being driven on the street,” said CPS Insp. Joe Brar.

Brar presented a report at the Police Commission meeting on Tuesday evening and says Calgary has the highest rate of vehicle thefts in the country.

“We've seen quite a bit of an increase in auto theft which correlates highly with the increase we've seen in property crimes as well. And what we are finding is that a lot of the stolen vehicles are being driven in a manner which is putting the public at risk,” said Brar.

Police are working on solutions to help combat auto thefts including enacting a bylaw to ticket those who leave vehicles idling with the keys inside.

“The police will continue their efforts in preventing vehicle thefts. For the public, the message would be to protect yourselves and protect your property like you would any other piece of property,” said Brar. “We’re looking at all sorts of solutions and exploring different ways to help deal with this issue and we’ll work with other law enforcement partners and other agencies to come up with a solution that works for everybody.”

For more information and tips to prevent auto theft and fraud, click HERE.