Car thefts in San Francisco rise while overall crime declines
Car thefts in San Francisco increased from January 2019 to December 2022 while overall crime in the city dropped.
What's happening: San Francisco saw car thefts increase by about 42% from 2019 to 2022, according to data from the San Francisco Police Department.
- In December 2022, 13% of car thefts involved Kia or Hyundai vehicles compared to vehicles from those two automakers accounting for just 3% of car thefts in December 2019, according to USAFact's analysis of data provided by SFPD.
Of note: Overall crime dropped about 7% from 2019 to 2022, according to SFPD.
The big picture: Major cities throughout the country saw a rise in car thefts from 2019 to 2022, according to new data from USAFacts. And some are pointing to a recent TikTok trend as a reason.
- 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.
- Last June, a group called the "Kia Boyz" posted viral videos on TikTok showing how to start some Kia and Hyundai vehicles using a USB charger.
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).
Across the bridge in Berkeley, 38% of all stolen vehicles since December have been Hyundais or Kias, NBC Bay Area reports.
- That's more than triple the amount of stolen Hyundai and Kia vehicles the department has previously seen, Byron White, a public information officer with the Berkeley Police Department, told NBC Bay Area.
Between the lines: San Francisco supervisors will vote today on an ordinance that would put an additional $27.6 million toward police overtime.
- Meanwhile, the city is considering giving raises to police officers to address the city's dwindling number of officers.
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."
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