Mayor Adams urges uses of Apple AirTags to combat rising NYC car thefts

Mayor Eric Adams says crime in most major categories is trending downward, with one big exception: car thefts.

"Decrease in shootings, decrease in homicides, decrease in robberies, larcenies, but the aggravated number of grand larceny auto continues to drive up our crime in the city," Mayor Adams said.

Car thefts are out of control across the five boroughs.

Latest numbers

Latest NYPD crime numbers.

The latest NYPD crime statistics seem to reflect that:

  • Grand larceny auto is up 13% citywide compared to this time last year, with nearly 4,500 vehicles reported stolen.
  • Over the past month, car thefts have jumped by more than 36%.

For that reason, city officials are suggesting this:

Apple AirTag on a keychain.

"This simple device, this simple AirTag hidden in a car, a location that a person is not aware of is an excellent tracking device," Mayor Adams said.

How does it work?

The AirTag costs around $30, and can be connected to an iPhone to see if a car has been stolen or on the move.

"You download the app to your phone, you deploy this AirTag the way you want to deploy it in your car, wherever you feel comfortable with," John Chell, NYPD Chief of Patrol, said. "When the AirTag starts moving, your phone will be alerted."

The AirTags can be connected to an iPhone to see if a car has been stolen or on the move.

The 43rd Precinct, which covers the Bronx neighborhoods of Castle Hill, Soundview and Parkchester, has been hit particularly hard. The area has seen 207 car thefts since the beginning of the year.

Police are donating 500 AirTags to car owners there in coordination with the local non-profit Association for a Better New York.

What's driving the car thefts?

Mayor Adams and the NYPD said a TikTok challenge is targeting Hyundais and Kias.

"They actually show in this challenge of stealing the car, how to use your everyday cord to charge your phone, to jumpstart the car," Mayor Adams said. "And so when you look at July of '22, you're seeing the spike that we are experiencing now because of what is happening on social media."