New Haven Police address rise in stolen vehicles due to TikTok trend
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WFSB) - After a social media challenge has led to the rise of certain cars being stolen, New Haven Police are taking steps to make sure drivers don’t lose theirs by handing out wheel locks.
Thieves can watch a video showing them how a USB charger can essentially hot wire certain Hyundai’s and Kia’s.
A New Haven Police Lieutenant who organized today’s giveaway says thefts have easily doubled over the last year.
Lt. Ryan Przybylski reached out to Hyundai, which sent him 115 locks to hand out to Elm City drivers who own a 2010-2021 Hyundai.
“There’s been a trend upward in stolen Kia’s and Hyundai’s. It’s about 100% increase over last year,” said Lt. Przybylski. “Crime of opportunity. It’s just very easy to steal these types of vehicles these years and makes specifically.”
“I think this is a great idea, hopefully it works, hopefully it deters the crime and nobody gets my car,” said Red, New Haven.
TikTok videos have shown thieves how to steal these vehicles with simple household items.
The lieutenant says while they happen all over the city, his districts are getting hit hard.
They recently had 6 Hyundai’s and Kia’s stolen in just one week.
“All I know is that they steal them and it’s not fair to people to have to absorb the cost,” said Alberta Gibbs, New Haven.
When Alberta Gibbs heard police were handing out free steering wheel locks, she decided to come grab one.
“It gives me a little piece of mind, and so when I go back home, I’m going to encourage other people on my block to do the same,” said Alberta.
In addition to handing out the locks, Przybylski also wanted to make sure drivers knew how to use them.
“Make sure you use it, the long end goes towards your driver’s side window,” said Lt. Przybylski.
The older versions of these cars don’t have immobilizers, but Hyundai is offering up a software update that will include extending the car alarm while also requiring a key to be in the ignition in order to turn it on.
“Every single one of these that I give out is one less stolen car we’ll have here in New Haven,” Lt. Przybylski added.
The lieutenant says he is still working with Kia on getting locks from them saying he’ll likely hold another giveaway in the future.
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