Governor's plan to combat Kia Hyundai thefts
ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)-- New York State officials continue to express concern about the number of car thefts of Kia and Hyundai 2011 to 2022 models.
Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled a plan to combat the issue by supporting law enforcements prevention efforts and launching a public messaging campaign.
“For all the car thieves out there, I have one message, 'you've reached the end of your road,'” she said.
This year's state budget includes $50 million to fund law enforcement technology and equipment. The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services intends to expedite the availability of these state dollars to combat this issue.
The Governor said a stolen car for many New Yorker's can be devastating.
“Cars are not inexpensive. It is your second most expensive possession after your housing. Having that disappear gives you the sense of helplessness. How are you going to get around? And when it's stolen, or some of the parts are stolen, it can just actually wreak, wreak havoc,” said Hochul.
In an official statement emailed to Erie News Now, Kia said they continue to work with law enforcement to combat car theft and remain committed to supporting customers and vehicle security.
"Kia has already notified all eligible owners and lessees of these vehicle models – over 3 million total – that they are able to receive the free security software upgrade that we have developed. To date, more than 720,000 vehicles nationwide have received the upgrade, which is designed to restrict the operation of the vehicle’s ignition system should a potential criminal attempt to steal a locked vehicle without the key," they said.
Kia also said they continue to provide steering wheel locks to owners of impacted vehicles that are not eligible for the software upgrade, at no cost to them.
The New York State Attorney General's office said, in an official press release, the surge in thefts of Kia and Hyundai models are caused by trends on social media platforms, such as the "Kia Challenge," where some creators show how to hot wire and steal these vehicle models with a screwdriver and a USB cord.
Some social media platforms, such as TikTok, prohibit this type of content via their community guidelines. YouTube said they have specific policies prohibiting harmful content.
“YouTube’s Harmful and Dangerous policies prohibit videos that encourage dangerous or illegal activities that risk serious physical harm or death. We also don’t allow videos that show instructional theft. As a result, we have removed videos depicting the Kia Challenge in recent months," said a spokesperson for YouTube.