These Are The Cities Where Car Theft Is Exploding

According to a study conducted by the Council on Criminal Justice, many major U.S. cities are seeing significant surges in auto theft within the last year. Since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, car theft has been steadily on the rise year after year, and from January to June of 2023, there has been a 104.3% increase in stolen vehicles when compared to the same timeframe in 2019.

Rochester, New York saw a huge spike in auto theft with an increase of 355% within the first six months of 2023 when compared to 2020. Other major cities like Memphis, Chicago, Buffalo, and Cincinnati have also been experiencing large rates of theft ranging from 120% to 162%.

However, some may find it surprising to see other major U.S. cities to experience a decrease in auto theft. Both Boston and Phoenix have seen a 3% decrease in motor vehicle thefts, Los Angeles is down 10%, Denver is down 20%, and St. Paul is experiencing a big drop of 41%.

Why is Car Theft on the Rise?

So why are some cities seeing a huge rise in car thefts? While economic factors resulting of the post-pandemic could be to blame, a larger part of it is believed to be due to social media. According to the study, many car thieves began targeting Kias and Hyundai models after TikTok videos of the “Kia Boys” went viral after showing viewers how easy it is to steal these cars. “It is likely that much of this increase is the result of thefts of Kia and Hyundai models,” the study said. “But rates were already trending upward before these vehicles became popular targets.

Were it not for this viral social media trend, it is believed that the rates of auto theft across the country wouldn’t be as high as they are currently. In an effort to ward off potential thieves, both brands have issued software and hardware changes to make theft even more difficult. Hopefully, we will start seeing an overall decrease in car theft in the second half of 2023, as many Kia and Hyundai owners have been having difficulty getting their vehicles insured due to them being prime targets for thieves.

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