New York City has come up with an innovative new idea to combat the rampant vehicle theft in the Big Apple and Mayor Eric Adams announced the giveaway of Apple AirTags to aid police in cracking down on car thieves.
At a Sunday news conference, Mayor Adams said that the city will distribute 500 of the GPS tracking devices to residents with the focus being on areas that have been hard hit by carjackers, including the 43rd Precinct in the Bronx which has seen over 200 car thefts since the beginning of the year.
The devices, which the mayor called a “really amazing piece of ingenuity,” will be doled out to New Yorkers after 500 were donated to the city by a local nonprofit group, the Association for Better New York.
(Video: YouTube/CBS New York)
“The aggravated number of grand larceny autos continues to drive up crime in our city,” said Hizzoner, who was joined by NYPD officials at the presser where he noted that the city has made some headway against other crimes which have taken recent downturn amid national attention to Gotham’s dangerous environment.
“This simple device, this simple AirTag, hidden in a car location that a person is not aware of, is an excellent tracking device,” Adams said. “It’s easy to monitor. You can see in real-time where the vehicle is located.”
In a video posted to social media by NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey on Sunday, residents are shown how the AirTags are able to be tracked by police.
“The 21st century calls for 21st century policing. AirTags in your car will help us recover your vehicle if it’s stolen. 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,” he wrote.
The 21st century calls for 21st century policing. AirTags in your car will help us recover your vehicle if it’s stolen. 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. #GSD pic.twitter.com/fTfk8p4lye
— NYPD Chief of Department (@NYPDChiefOfDept) April 30, 2023
“Once the owner realizes that their car is missing for whatever reason, they call us, and we’ll use their phone to track the vehicle,” said Chief Maddrey.
“We’re going to be handing them out in this precinct, which is really spiking in grand larceny autos,” Adams said in his speech at the Castle Hill Library which is located in the 43rd Precinct.
Castle Hill resident Carmen Parrilla, whose neighbor’s car was recently stolen, said she is hoping to be the recipient of one of the free Apple AirTags to be handed out.
“They come into our neighborhoods, it’s like homes at night and everybody’s sleeping,” Parrilla told local news outlet PIX11. “They just do what they do and they’re very professional about it.”
“Many of us remember when auto theft was an epidemic on our city streets, when we were worried every single time we parked our cars we know we could leave nothing in them,” said Steven Rubenstein, chairman of the Association for Better New York which donated the devices.
“There was a joke that went around back then that BMW stood for break my window,” Rubenstein said to reporters. “But the crimes weren’t a joke and you didn’t have to own a luxury car like a BMW to be a victim. Today we’re nowhere near close to the bad old days but bad leaders don’t wait for things to spiral.”
“Car thefts in the Big Apple have been on the rise, with the number spiking to 4,492 through April 23 this year compared to 3,966 over the same period last year — a more than 13% increase,” according to the New York Post.
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