NYPD asks people to put Apple AirTags in their cars to help find stolen vehicles

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams and his police department have asked residents to help fight vehicle theft in the city by placing Apple AirTags in their cars.

AirTags are small, circular tracking devices that allow users to monitor the location of their belongings through the “Find My” app on their iPhones. If a vehicle is stolen with an AirTag inside, residents will be able to track their car and work with police officers to recover it.

“It’s a really amazing piece of ingenuity,” Adams said at a press conference Sunday.

Apple sells AirTags starting at $29, and Adams said a nonprofit organization in New York has donated 500 of the devices to distribute to residents for free.

The New York City Police Department shared a video Sunday demonstrating how residents can use an AirTag to protect their vehicles. Jeffrey Maddrey, the chief of the department, wrote in a tweet that the “21st century calls for 21st century policing.”

“AirTags in your car will help us recover your vehicle if it’s stolen,” the NYPD tweet said. “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”

Adams said Kia, Hyundai and Honda vehicles have been particularly vulnerable to theft, in part because of a trend circulating on TikTok.

In an April press release, Adams said New York City saw an 890% increase in Kia thefts at the end of last year and a 766% increase in Hyundai thefts in the preceding months. The city has joined a national lawsuit that aims to hold the vehicle manufacturers accountable for failing to install standard anti-theft measures in certain models.

Adams said Sunday that AirTags are an “excellent” tracking device that he believes will help slow rates of car theft in the city.

“Using technology to fight crime, protect people, save property is the direction this administration and this police department is going in,” Adams said Sunday.