Fortunately, the child was dropped off unharmed on a stranger’s porch in SE D.C., but again, left alone. The suspect is still on the loose.
A vehicle was stolen in Washington, D.C. with a 4-month-old baby alone inside on Friday night (1/5/2024). According to news reports, the mother left the baby in the vehicle with the car running to go inside a perfume store in NW D.C. The car was then stolen. Fortunately, the child was dropped off unharmed on a stranger’s porch in SE D.C., but again, left alone. The suspect is still on the loose.
This is the first car stolen with a child alone inside in Washington D.C. and in the U.S. this year according to data documented by Kids and Car Safety.
Contrary to what many believe, this is not a rare occurrence. In 2023, Kids and Car Safety documented at least 164 children who were left alone in a vehicle that was then stolen. Every year we see an increase in these cases as the temperatures get cooler.
Although the victims of these types of incidents typically survive, it is incredibly traumatizing for everyone involved and a significant misuse of law enforcement resources. Incidents like this are very easily avoidable by never leaving a child alone in a vehicle.
Car Theft Video PSA available for your use (from press release):
Thieves watch for vehicles to be left running, or unattended with the keys inside. Most of the time, they don’t realize that there is a child inside until after they have already stolen the vehicle.
Car thefts happen even in the safest neighborhoods. It only takes a few seconds for a car thief to jump into a vehicle and be gone.
Tips for parents:
- Never leave a child of any age or pet alone in a vehicle, not even for a minute.
- Use drive-thrus or curbside pickup so you don’t have to leave your vehicle.
- If a business doesn’t offer curbside delivery, call upon arrival and ask them to bring your order to your car. Most people are more than happy to accommodate you when you tell them you have small children. It takes a village!
- Keep car doors locked and keys on your person when pumping gas with children inside the vehicle.
For more information on the dangers children face when left alone in vehicles visit our website.