It's cold out there, so you start your car a little early to warm it up while you wait inside your house. The Rockford Police Department says you're setting yourself up for a problem.

Leaving your car unattended with the engine running and the doors unlocked is all the invitation some criminals will need, according to police.

The next thing you know, your car's been taken off on a joyride, or used to commit crimes in the area.

My Stateline reports that "The City of Rockford has seen a seven percent increase in auto thefts this year, with 380 cases through October, compared to 354 cases in the same time frame last year."

Rockford Police Sergeant David Cone has some advice in this video:

For those who don't have the money on-hand for a remote car starter, Sergeant Cone recommends sitting in your car while it warms up. You may be cold for a short while, but at least your car won't be taking part in a crime spree later on.

Or, it may help to know that warming up your car's engine on a cold morning actually does more harm than good: