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TikTok Sparks Surge in Kia and Hyundai Thefts in Los Angeles

Social media platforms exacerbate vehicle thefts through security flaws

Kia and Hyundai vehicles have become a major target for car theft in the City of Los Angeles, with a 7 percent increase in thefts since 2021. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, social media platform TikTok has fueled these thefts, with many videos showing would-be thieves how to take advantage of security flaws in these cars.  

“Kia and Hyundai vehicles made up almost 13% of all vehicle thefts in the City of Los Angeles. In 2022, Kia and Hyundai vehicles account for almost 20% of all vehicle thefts, 7% increase for these vehicles,” the LAPD said in a recent community alert. 

The current Tik-Tok Kia/Hyundai social media challenge is believed to be a contributing factor to this rise in car thefts due to these models being produced between 2010 and 2021 without an ignition immobilizer, according to the LAPD. 

“The primary cause for the increase in vehicle thefts is that Kia and Hyundai vehicles, produced between 2010 thru 2021, are not equipped with an ignition immobilizer. Therefore, these vehicle ignitions can be compromised using a USB cable,” the LAPD said. 

According to the LAPD, there is not a specific model thieves are targeting. 

To reduce the risk of theft, owners should take steps such as installing a steering wheel locking device, battery disconnect switch, kill switch, aftermarket antitheft system, or GPS tracking device. Additionally, it is recommended that drivers park their cars in well-lit areas or secured locations and make sure all windows and doors are locked before leaving the vehicle. 

If anyone has additional information regarding vehicle thefts, they can contact their local LAPD Geographic Area Auto Detective at 1-877-527-3247 or visit www.lacrimestoppersorg and www.lapdonline.org respectively for anonymous tips and more information.

in Crime, News
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