What's behind the recent rise in car thefts
Car thefts are on the rise across multiple cities nationwide, according to new data, and a recent social media trend may be to blame.
Driving the news: Major cities across the U.S., including Milwaukee, Cleveland and Chicago, saw a significant rise in car thefts from 2019 to 2022, according to new data from USAFacts. Many are pointing to a recent TikTok trend showing how to steal Kia and Hyundai vehicles.
- The data comes from 500 police departments with the most vehicle thefts in the last five years. About one-fifth of those departments had data for 2022. USAFacts combined the data with data from the FBI, as well as statewide data for 10 states.
What's happening: Kia and Hyundai thefts surged in cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle and Baltimore.
- In Cleveland, 67% of reported car thefts in December 2022 were of Kias or Hyundais.
- But cities such as San Francisco, San Diego and Fort Worth, Texas, saw thefts stay closer to average theft numbers, according to the data.
By the numbers: There were 468,821 total thefts reported in 2022 across all the cities reviewed by the USAFacts data.
- That's much higher than in 2021 (411,935 reported thefts), as well as in 2020 (361, 550) and 2019 (318,467).
- Thefts in some areas jumped 400% from 2019 to 2022, while others rose by at least 100%, according to USAFacts.
Yes, but: Not everyone is experiencing these thefts the same way. For example, thefts rose in Kansas City, but dropped in other areas of Missouri, per USAFacts.
The big picture: Thieves across America are stealing Hyundais and Kias in seconds most due to design flaws in the cars, Axios' Annalise Frank writes.
- Thieves will break windows and remove parts of the steering column cover, then start the vehicle with a screwdriver, or a plugin from a USB device.
- Knowledge of this tactic came from a recent challenge on TikTok, which encouraged thieves to target these vehicles.
What's next: Kia and Hyundai both released new "theft deterrent software" for more than 8 million vehicles in response to the trend.
- TikTok said in a statement to the Washington Post that it "does not condone this behavior which violates our policies and will be removed if found on our platform."