New Efforts Announced to Combat Car Thefts Linked to Viral Social Media Trend

New Efforts Announced to Combat Car Thefts Linked to Viral Social Media Trend

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Governor Kathy Hochul has announced new efforts to help police combat the rise in car thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles, which have been linked to a viral social media trend. The trend, which originated on TikTok, involves videos showing groups of young people demonstrating how to steal certain car makes and models. This has led to an increase in car thefts, particularly in Monroe and Erie counties where thefts have gone up 345% and 213% respectively.

During a press conference, Governor Hochul emphasized the impact of these thefts on New Yorkers, stating, “Too many New Yorkers are waking up in shock to an empty driveway, walking outside the barber shop and finding out the vehicle that got them there is no longer sitting at the curb.” She also highlighted the sense of helplessness that accompanies such incidents.

While car thefts have seen a significant increase in some areas, Governor Hochul also noted that overall crime is continuing to decrease since the COVID-19 pandemic. She stated, “Overall, violent crime is actually down 12% since 2021, so that’s good news. But, when you have one outlier, one category of crime that is driving up the rest, that’s a real challenge for us.”

In response to these thefts, Governor Hochul’s plan includes encouraging owners to download anti-theft software updates, using anti-theft window stickers, and urging car owners to purchase wheel locks, which may be reimbursed the state. There will also be a public awareness campaign to raise awareness of the issue. Additionally, $50 million has been allocated in this year’s state budget for new law enforcement technology and equipment, prioritized for counties with the highest number of car thefts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has already taken action against these thefts, requiring Hyundai and Kia to develop theft-deterrent software for their vehicles. Hyundai has also provided customers with window stickers to alert potential car thieves that the vehicle is equipped with anti-theft protection. The companies were further required to provide 26,000 steering wheel locks to law enforcement agencies.

Governor Hochul’s plan also includes allocating up to $5 million for youth justice alternatives and diversion programs and services. The aim is to reach out to young people before they become involved in criminal activities. The overall goal is to protect the public and find innovative solutions to prevent further car thefts.

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