Last year, TikTok started a trend that we are still facing the repercussions of today. A trend went around enticing people to steal Kias and Hyundais. This came after a viral video showed how easily they can be stolen. Kias and Hyundais are not the only victims of this recent influx in auto thefts though. No stone is being left unturned and all types of cars are being stolen currently.
In an attempt to combat the thefts, New York City has decided to give away 500 Apple AirTags.
The city’s mayor, Eric Adams, announced the action early May at a press conference. He went on to explain how AirTags allow better tracking of a vehicle, even days after a theft occurs. The goal of the action is to make it easier to find stolen cars more quickly and more efficiently. The speedier process of finding the stolen cars will also likely lead to the speedier process of finding the thieves behind the crime. The New York City mayor is hoping that, by raising the likelihood of being caught, people will be deterred from attempting the theft in the first place.
The AirTags are set to be issued by the NYPD’s Crime Prevention Unit. They have announced that the distribution of the AirTags will focus on precincts that have been dealing with the highest number of thefts.
The city got the AirTags from the Association of a Better New York, who donated them originally. The city plans to fundraise money in order to have a special budget focused on purchasing and distributing more AirTags or similar tracking devices.
AirTags are small Apple made tracking devices that connect via a Bluetooth signal to the installer. This signal shows the location of the AirTag. When placed in a car, this would give away the location of the car. With the distribution of these, the car owner would report the theft to NYPD. The NYPD then begins tracking of the device and pinpoints the location of the car.
THE NYPD has assured that until a theft is reported and a car owner gives consent, they cannot track the device.
As of early May, New York City has already seen 4,793 reports of grand theft auto. This is 14% higher than the same time last year. 966 of the stolen vehicles have been Kias or Hyundais. The fact that so many Kias and Hyundais are victims of the thefts has led to a lawsuit being brought against the car companies nationwide. New York City is among the plaintiffs of the case. In the suit, they are fighting the manufacturers on the fact that they did not properly equip their vehicles with safety measures.
New York’s attorney general also joined in the fight to push the federal government to issue a recall of Kia and Hyundai’s models that lack anti-theft systems. Kia made a statement in response to this call to action and lawsuit. They announced a software upgrade available for free to Kia owners. This upgrade will feature enhanced security systems. The company is also offering free wheel locks to affected drivers.
Hyundai made a statement as well announcing the same new features as Kia. They too will be offering a free security software upgrade and are offering reimbursement for wheel locks.