July 21, 2024

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The trend of Hyundai and Kia thefts has reached New York City

The trend of Hyundai and Kia thefts has reached New York City

(CNN) Carjacking booms of some Hyundai and Kia models, a trend that started in the American Midwest and spread by how-to videos on social media, has reached America’s largest city.

About 100 particularly vulnerable Hyundai and Kia vehicles were stolen in December alone in New York City, according to New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell. Thefts started to rise in September of last year.

“Before that time, we were expecting between 10 and 12 thefts of these cars a month. By December we had reached about 100,” she said at a press conference on Thursday.

The vehicles in question, 2015-2019 Hyundai and Kia models such as the Hyundai Santa Fe, Tucson, Kia Forte and Sportage, when equipped with a ready ignition – unlike cars that only require a button to start – are twice as likely to be stolen than other vehicles in the same class. age. Many of these vehicles lack some of the basic auto theft-prevention technology built into most other vehicles, even in those years, according to the Highway Data Institute, an industry group that tracks insurance statistics.

Aerial Ride on Tik Tok

These models became the subject of a widespread trend on social media in which thieves filmed themselves and others stealing Hyundai and Kia cars and taking them for a drive. In some parts of the country, the problem is getting really bad Some insurance companies have refused to write new policies on Hyundai and Kia models In places where thefts have become extremely common.

The models in question do not have electronic immobilizers, which rely on a computer chip in the vehicle and another in the key that communicates to make sure the key belongs to that vehicle. Without the correct key, the immobilizer has to do just that – stop the vehicle from moving.

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New York robberies first began to appear in the Bronx, the commissioner said, but soon also occurred in other parts of the city.

Most of the SUVs and cars were later found abandoned and appeared to be just for “joy rides,” Sewell said, but there are also concerns that the stolen cars could also be used to commit other crimes as well.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams blamed social media for the spread of the criminal trend. Videos have been posted on TikTok, in particular, showing a technique whereby a USB charging cable can be used to start a car with a partially disassembled ignition key.

Grand Theft Auto

“We see it not only as stealing a car, but as stealing the future of our youth,” Adams said. “When you get arrested for grand theft, it’s a felony. It stays on your record. It affects your life in a real way.”

The mayor reminded owners with potentially vulnerable vehicles that Kia and Hyundai dealerships can provide security upgrades to help protect their vehicles.

The two South Korean automakers made a software patch To fix the problem, the automakers said. Hyundai and Kia operate as two separate companies in the United States, but the Hyundai Motor Group owns a significant stake in Kia, and many Hyundai and Kia models share much of their engineering.

The patch will install for free on the models that need it, with software that requires a physical key in the ignition to start the vehicle. The software will also prevent the vehicle from starting after the doors are locked using the key fob remote control. The car will need to be unlocked before you can start it.

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The program also extends the length of the beep from 30 seconds to a full minute. Hyundai dealers will also place stickers on the windows stating that anti-theft software is installed in the vehicle.

Hyundai began making the software available immediately to the most popular—and most stolen—at-risk models. Kia said it has started offering the update to some customers and expects it to be made available to the most affected vehicles. Hyundai also said it has started a program to reimburse owners for steering wheel lock purchases.