Car thefts are on the rise in New York City, and Gotham’s finest are turning to Apple’s AirTag trackers for help. On Sunday, Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD said 500 free AirTags would go to residents by request in the police precinct hardest hit by car thieves.
“This simple device, this simple AirTag, hidden in a car location that a person is not aware, of is an excellent tracking device,” Adams said. “It’s easy to monitor. You can see in real-time where the vehicle is located.”
AirTag tracking devices will help fight car theft in New York City
While crime overall has gone down recently in New York City, car thefts this year have risen 13% over last year, with close to 4,500 vehicles taken citywide, ABC7 reported.
Adams pointed to Hyundai and Kia vehicles in particular, which have seen a spike in thefts due to explanatory videos on TikTok, he said. You can watch statements by Adams in the CBS New York video below. An explainer video by the NYPD appears with its chief’s tweet, further below.
The city’s 43rd Precinct in southeastern Bronx has seen the most thefts, with a 24% rise, and that’s where residents can request free AirTags for their cars. If more residents discreetly place AirTags in their vehicles, more stolen cars can be tracked and then recovered by police.
“Your phone will be alerted. You know someone’s in your car who’s not supposed to be, and/or it’s stolen. You call 911 as fast as you can,” said NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell. “You tell the officers involved ‘I have an AirTag, ‘and they will immediately with citywide apprehension apparatus will start putting that tag citywide.”
But won’t AirTag alert thieves, too?
Of course, not only will the car’s owner be able to track the car so long as the AirTag is not discovered and removed — the AirTag will also alert the thieves. It’s designed to make a sound when at a distance from the owner for up to 24 hours and also show an alert on nearby iPhones, which could include that of the criminal. But authorities apparently think motorists using AirTags is worth it for the chance to get an early jump on thieves.
The 500 AirTags come by donation from the nonprofit Association for a Better New York.
The 21st century calls for 21st century policing. AirTags in your car will help us recover your vehicle if it’s stolen. We’ll use our drones, our StarChase technology & good old fashion police work to safely recover your stolen car. Help us help you, get an AirTag. #GSD pic.twitter.com/fTfk8p4lye
— NYPD Chief of Department (@NYPDChiefOfDept) April 30, 2023