It is a TikTok problem that’s fueling stolen automobiles throughout New York Metropolis and the nation, as a USB plug has grow to be thieves’ instrument of selection — however now there’s a straightforward approach to shield the focused autos.
The automobile theft pattern is focusing on house owners of Kia and Hyundai autos, and anybody who has been on the video sharing platform could have seen it by now.
It is known as the Kia Problem, and it’s believed to have began within the Midwest. It exhibits how simple it’s to steal the actual manufacturers’ autos due to a safety flaw with the automobiles.
Now it has garnered the eye of the NYPD after an alarming improve in automobile thefts: The police division mentioned that because the TikTok problem hit in mid-2022, thefts of Kias and Hyundais have shot up 50 %.
“We see that 14- to 17-year-old kids are taking these cars and they might think it’s a joke, but they’re driving around recklessly, they’re hanging out the windows, and unfortunately sometimes they crash and people get hurt,” mentioned NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell.
The autos being focused are very particular: Kias or Hyundais constructed over the past decade with conventional ignitions. A USB cable is the important thing to swiping the automobile, although it has little to do with the know-how.
“It’s a USB cable, old style USB cable and it’s nothing to do technologically with the USB cable. It just happens to be the right size to activate the ignition in the vehicle,” mentioned NYPD Auto Crime Unit Detective Thomas Kelly.
Chell mentioned that the “phenom” is primarily hitting in Manhattan and the Bronx.
Hyundai and Kia issued a recall for greater than 485,000 automobiles, telling house owners to park exterior as they will catch on hearth even whereas the engine is off.
Simply days in the past, police mentioned a 17-year-old stole a Kia from Harlem after being impressed by the TikTok problem. The teenager smashed right into a tree within the Bronx earlier than being arrested. Nobody was damage.
“Young kids. Stolen cars. No license. Driving recklessly it paints a picture that everyone needs to know,” mentioned Chell.
The NYPD has taken to social media to sound the alarm. So how can these with the focused automobile fashions shield their automobile?
“Park in a well-lit area, make sure you take your key with you, if you have a driveway to park in that’s better,” Kelly mentioned.
However maybe the most effective protection? An outdated safety instrument that is been used for many years.
“The biggest thing would be to secure your steering wheel. Immobilize your steering wheel. The old-fashioned club. Old technology has become new again,” Kelly mentioned.
Police say all Kias and Hyundais made after 2021 come customary with anti-theft immobilizers, which might forestall the problem.
Is the clock ticking on TikTok in America? Already banned on many authorities units, some federal officers, politicians, and regulation enforcement need the favored app banned for everybody. Have they got a purpose to be involved, and will TikTok’s days be numbered?
Each Kia and Hyundai mentioned all of their autos meet or exceed federal security requirements. The added that they’re engaged on software program updates, however no timeline for when it will likely be obtainable.
Hyundai is providing a safety equipment for drivers, but it surely prices $170.
The one free choice? Since this began, Hyundai instructed us its partnering with some regulation enforcement companies to distribute steering wheel locks for eligible drivers in impacted areas.
The automaker mentioned it has partnered with 120 companies nationwide, however wouldn’t share what these companies are.
When reached for remark, TikTok mentioned in a press release that it “does not condone this behavior which violates our policies and will be removed if found on our platform.”