A automobile theft problem going viral on TikTok and different social media apps has led to a 767% improve in Hyundai and Kia vehicle thefts in the Chicago space for the reason that starting of July in comparison with final yr, in accordance with authorities.
TikTok customers are posting movies beneath the hashtag “Kia Boyz,” instructing individuals begin Kia or Hyundai autos with out keys, utilizing the tip of a cellphone charger or USB cable, prompting juveniles throughout the nation to attempt to steal these autos.
“Vehicle theft is up an astounding 767% on account of an rising TikTok problem,” The Chicago Police Department’s fifteenth District stated in an Aug. 24 group advisory. “This problem is a play by play [sic] for younger adults on steal each Hyundai and Kia autos. These vehicle thefts are against the law of alternative and might have an effect on nearly any member of the group.”
Between July 1 and mid-August, there have been 642 reported Kia and Hyundai automobile thefts in comparison with simply 74 final yr, in accordance with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is a particularly regarding pattern and the general public must know to allow them to be vigilant in defending themselves,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart stated in an announcement earlier this month. “The Sheriff’s Office will proceed to work intently with different regulation enforcement businesses and interact automakers to scale back harmful automobile thefts and carjackings in Cook County.”
The pattern is going on in cities throughout the nation.
Earlier this month, a bunch of 4 youngsters, ages 14-17, stole a 2021 Kia Forte from a rental lot in St. Paul, Minnesota, and led police on a freeway chase with patrol vehicles and a helicopter in pursuit. The automobile crashed as the motive force tried to keep away from a cease stick that had been arrange within the street, and the group tried to flee on foot earlier than they had been apprehended.
Police in St. Petersburg, Florida, stated that since mid-July, greater than 40% of automobile thefts have concerned Kia or Hyundai autos.
Police are encouraging Kia and Hyundai house owners to “be alert” and take precautions — like parking in a busy or well-lit space fairly than a darkish, secluded space — to keep away from automobile theft.
Vehicle house owners also needs to flip off and lock their autos whereas shopping for groceries or pumping fuel, get insurance coverage for his or her vehicles and set up cameras or alarm programs with motor detection.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office additionally permits automobile house owners to fill out a consent type on-line, enabling regulation enforcement businesses to work with automobile producers to trace vehicles.
The problem stems from the shortage of an immobilizer system in among the autos previous to the 2022 mannequin yr, primarily 2011-2021 Kias and 2015-2021 Hyundais outfitted with ignitions requiring mechanical keys.
A Hyundai spokesman beforehand instructed Fox News Autos the carmaker has expanded a program supporting police departments which are distributing theft-preventive steering wheel locks and has additionally recognized an aftermarket product that addresses the difficulty.
The Firstech/Compustar safety package “targets the tactic of entry thieves are utilizing to entry these autos” and disables the starter if the alarm is triggered.