In May 2023, New York City Mayor Eric Adams gave a press conference at the Castle Hill Library. While speaking, Adams dubbed the convenient AirTag an “excellent tracking device,” but he wasn’t there to endorse the product for Apple. In the view of the NYPD, AirTags are an excellent weapon against car thieves.
Adams stated that thefts and other violent crimes were tracking downwards in the city, but that grand larceny of autos remained a growing problem. To that end, the NYPD suggests hiding Apple AirTags in cars, in places where potential thieves would not suspect them. By doing this, according to Adams, “as soon as we’re notified (of a car theft) … even if it’s days later, we can still track the car, and find the person who’s driving it, and put a brake on what we are experiencing.”
On April 30, 2023, further pushing the virtues of technology in combating crime, the NYPD Chief of Department Twitter account tweeted, “AirTags in your car will help us recover your vehicle if it’s stolen. We’ll use our drones, our StarChase technology & good old fashion police work to safely recover your stolen car.” To that end, 500 AirTags were given away by Association For A Better New York to further the initiative. Adams also noted that Hyundai and Kia cars were particular targets of car thefts, with Honda vehicles not far behind. A certain infamous TikTok trend plays a part in this.
Why Hyundai and Kia vehicles are such a target
TikTok is a real hotbed of trends and lifehacks. This can certainly be a positive thing, but its great influence should be used with care. In 2021, Kia and Hyundai vehicles became targets for thefts, to the extent that a group dubbed the Kia Boys emerged. Their shtick was, and is, stealing cars from these two manufacturers and recording their antics as part of the so-called Kia challenge. Some models from these automakers are easy to get into and then start by means of a simple USB-shaped lead.
The trend has, naturally, proven to be a challenge indeed for law enforcement across the United States. A lasting one, too: in April 2023, the City of New York issued a press release noting that both Mayor Adams and Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix, New York City Corporation Counsel, are seeking action against the car makers. “The city intends to join ongoing national [litigation] against car manufacturers Kia and Hyundai that aims to hold the two companies accountable for refusing to equip certain models of both cars with standard anti-theft measures,” the release reads, stating that some cars from these companies essentially can’t recognize an unauthorized attempt to start the engine. As a result, it goes on, Kia was the hardest hit of the two: 890% more Kia vehicles were being stolen at the turn of 2023, hence the NYPD’s call for AirTag use.